Big Brothers Big Sisters of America's mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.
Little Sister Rasheda:
Anne became my Big Sister when I was eight years old. She came at a critical point in my life - I was moving from childhood to adolescence and from a public elementary school to a private middle school.
I grew up in a single parent home in Pittsburgh. My mother balanced a 50+ hour work week while instilling values in me to work hard, persevere, and stay down to earth.
My mother knew she wasn't the only influence I needed. Although I had many mentors in my cousins, uncles, and aunts, my mother sought out a mentor at Big Brothers Big Sisters to give me an outside perspective on life.
Anne provided a foundation of support that shaped me into the person I am today. Our relationship through Big Brothers Big Sisters started on my eighth birthday in 1996 and lasted until I graduated high school in 2006.
Although our official Big Brothers Big Sisters relationship ended three years ago, our relationship as sisters has not. Anne and I still keep in touch, go on outings, and support one another. Her encouragement not only helped me to be successful in middle and high school, but also at Amherst College.
As I look forward to my college graduation next year, I cannot help but think about the contributions that Big Brothers Big Sisters and Anne have made to my life, and about the hundreds of thousands of stories across the United States that are similar to mine.