Alexis and Marika


Four years of fun - Big Sister Marika and Little Sister Alexis

September 2013 - If it weren’t for the visible age difference, you would never know that Marika and Alexis had more than a decade age difference between them – 14 years to be exact. The duo is like two peas in a pod – both have similar interests and are always smiling and laughing.

Little Sister Alexis and Big Sister Marika have spent the past four years building a great bond. They have  spent time together having girls days, trying new restaurants, shopping, skating, having (decaf) lattes, and/or going on random adventures - like pumpkin patching. In fact, Alexis attributes her willingness to try new things to Marika.

Alexis and Marika met four years ago. At the time, both were enrolled in our agency’s In-School Mentoring Program. Throughout the first year of their friendship, Marika visited Alexis for one hour a week on school property, during school hours. As they got to know each other more, both learned that they had a good connection. At that point they decided to transition their relationship out of school-based activities and into our Traditional Match Program. 

“My fourth grade teacher asked me if I wanted a Big Sister. I was nervous at first,” says Alexis, adding, “… but she ended up being a great Big Sister.”

“Joining the Traditional Match Program allowed us to hang out outside of school. I felt like she would benefit from having an extra support,” says Marika.

When they met, Alexis was shy and lacked self-esteem. Four years later, Alexis admits, “I’m definitely more confident.” Marika, says “It has been such a wonderful privilege to see how much my Little Sister has grown and changed into this amazing young person who is so different from the vulnerable child I first met.”

There have been several changes that have occurred in both Big and Little over the years. In Alexis’ case, some significant changes are “now she’s very outgoing, a lot happier and confident. Her school attendance and grades are awesome,” explains Marika.

When the Match met in 2009, Marika was completing an internship with our agency on the road to Psychology degree and Social Service Work diploma. 

Years later – as it would turn out – Marika now works at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hamilton and Burlington. Since February 2013, Marika has coordinated volunteer intake. Most recently, she will also be coordinating the Go Girls! Program. “It’s always been in my nature to help others,” she says.

Not only do Alexis and Marika have similar interests, but they also have similar passions, such as music and helping others. Although she hasn’t completely made up her mind as per a future career, Alexis says she has a “really big interest in music.” It’s no coincidence that Marika is a retired piano teacher of 12 years.

“She has a few career aspirations, all of which have to do with helping others,” explains Marika. And on September 16th, Alexis will be one step closer to achieving them. Alexis is one of 10 Big Brothers Big Sisters clients’ that will be receiving a 2013 Promise Scholarship.

Marika could not be happier: “I was very excited for her and grateful for the opportunity for her. I think she’ll really benefit from it - it’s opened up the door of possibility for her.”

In the short term, Alexis aspires to be a Big Sister in five years when she turns 18. So what’s next for the duo? “We have a great bond and I don’t see anything about that changing in the years to come,” says Marika.


We currently are incurring a long waitlist, and are in need of volunteer mentors.

  • Are you 18 years of age or older?
  • Are you interested in positively benefitting the life of a child?
  • Do you have 2-3 hours a week to dedicate to a rewarding friendship?

Click here to apply to be a mentor today!