Journee and Danielle have a very special bond. Despite being matched a little under a year, they have become thick as thieves. Journee asked her mom for a Big Sister, as some of her older friends had one, and mom felt like it would be good for her, as Journee struggled with her self-confidence and being bullied at school. And we could not have found a Big better suited to help her learn and grow than Dani.
They’re first several outings were getting to know each other, exploring their likes and dislikes. Dani took Journee to her boxing gym, where she is a trainer, and to her church, where she was very involved. In fact, it was while looking for volunteer experiences for other members, when Dani herself decided to become a Big Sister. They came to BBBS group events, went out to eat and have had girls’ nights with pizza, movies and nails!!
Journee celebrated a pretty important milestone recently. After attending church, pretty much weekly, with Dani, Journee asked her if she could be baptized. Dani and Journee’s family did share a Christian background, although Journee had yet to be baptized. So last month, after blessing from her mom and surrounded by her new church family and her biological family, Journee was baptized. A very special day for everyone. And to top it off, Dani’s church also selected BBBS to be a recipient for one of their collection days. On Easter Sunday, they raised over $500 to support our work in the community.
Mom, Journee and Dani all have so much love and respect for one another and their roles in each other’s lives. Mom days that Journee’s self-esteem has improved so much since being matched. She says, “Journee is happy, so I am happy”. And Journee says, “I think God brought Dani into my life at the right moment”. Dani talks about her passion for children and volunteering in her community, saying that she “believes that BBBS was a gateway to experience both on a totally different level”.
Aidan and Sunny have been matched for a little over 3 years. In fact, they celebrated their 3-year Match-A-Versary this past February. Aidan’s mother, Linda enrolled Aidan when he was 8 years old because she wanted him to have a positive male role model. Her husband, and Aidan's father, passed away that year (2012) after a long battle with leukemia and it was very hard on the family. She thought that having a male role model would be very imperative for Aidan. Linda stated that in Sunny, Aidan has found a friend, resource, and someone he can share his life experiences with. She said that Sunny is a great role model especially now that Aidan is a teenager. She went on to say that he has been able to instill positivity in Aidan’s life and they are so blessed to have him in their lives.
Sunny, Aidan, and Linda all stated that the match started out a bit challenging as they were trying to figure what activities would be interesting and that they could connect on. Linda admitted that she and Sunny were big on trying to get Aidan interested in activities such as sports but they were not the most appealing to Aidan, so that was very short lived. However, she said that Sunny was very flexible and always put Aidan’s needs/wants first. So they started to brainstorm other things they could do. Aidan said that he and Sunny talk about the things they enjoy individually and just give them to try to see if it’s something they could enjoy together.
Aidan shared with Sunny his love for making string necklaces and was able to teach Sunny how to make them, as well. They also enjoy activities like going to the movies and Zap Zone. In fact, his mother recounted times when Aidan has come home bragging about beating Sunny in the games they played. Sunny also noted that Aidan is well known there because of his skill level (and how much he frequents there) so the staff all know him by name.
Linda really appreciates that Sunny and Aidan found a commonality of attending cultural related events, especially those related to Asian culture, given they share a similar racial identity.
And they love attending the BBBS annual Rec Night. They use the event as a way to celebrate another year being matched. Sunny said that it was the first event that the match attended and Aidan loves to play ping pong there.
Mom said, when talking about the match that “A big concern and reason for enrolling Aidan was that he is an only child and his father passed away when he was very young. Sunny has been someone he can talk to as a friend and brother. The greatest benefit is their friendship.”
Congratulations Aiden and Sunny, on 3 years matched and being our Match of the Month this month.
Changing Lives-- One Story at a Time.