Jenn and Shanice

jenn and shanice 

A pair of – what seem to be – old friends

June 2012 - For a mentoring relationship that is relatively new, Shanice and Jenn are like two old friends – they have the same interests, passions and hobbies. Melanie, Shanice’s mother, attests that the duo are a perfect fit. “She’s very adventurous,” says Melanie on Jenn, adding, “[Shanice] is active like her so it works well.”

Big Sister Jenn and Little Sister Shanice met in December 2011. Six months into their match, Jenn admits that she has noticed some significant changes in Shanice. While “she’s opened up slowly,” Jen says, “she’s quickly become more comfortable with me and we joke around a lot more now.”

Upon meeting Shanice, this was apparent; however, while 12-year-old Shanice appeared to be shy upon introduction, it did not take her long to open up. “Yes” or “No” answers quickly turned into “Want to see the new cheerleading move I just taught myself?” She then proceeded to show me “the scorpion.” Shanice has a passion for cheerleading. – her face lights up when she talks about it. Professional cheerleading is among her future aspirations alongside being a veterinarian.

Art is Shanice’s favourite subject in school. After learning this, it was not surprising that one of Shanice’s fondest memories of her and her Big was when they were painting together. In this particular memory, paint soon found its way on their faces (as seen in the picture to the right.) Shanice laughs when she tells me about the memory.

Alongside laughing and painting, Jenn and Shanice play volleyball and do yoga together every week. Big and Little both love being active, enjoying the outdoors and adventuring. Because of their similar interests, Shanice says that it’s easy for the two of them to come up with ideas of things to do together. Geocashing, an outdoor treasure hunting game that involves using a GPS, is an activity that the two have recently partaken in.

Jenn had always wanted to be a Big, but knew that the commitment meant that she would have to be in one city for at least one year. Now that she resides in Burlington permanently, the 29-year-old nanny admits that volunteering has brought out positive changes in herself. “[Volunteering] helped me see how little effort it takes to influence, mentor and encourage others.” Influencing another is exactly what Jenn has done. Shanice says, “she’s a role model to me.”

Of all the things they do together, encouragement and life lessons are positively reinforced by Jenn. Jenn admires that Shanice is “always so polite.” Coincidentally, it’s her influence that has helped teach Shanice manners – “Jenn teaches me to be nice,” says Shanice.

Jenn self-describes herself as “a natural leader and fierce like a lion;” Shanice says if she could be an animal, she would be a bird because “you can fly and nothing can get you.” Although Big and Little’s imaginary animals do not get along, this is far opposite than their relationship. Not only in the short term, but also in the future, both Jenn and Shanice foresee being friends in the long term. Jenn’s “more of a friend than an adult figure,” says Shanice.

This summer, Jenn and Shanice plan to go to Canada’s Wonderland, Wild Waterworks and zip lining. To find out more information about our Big Sister Mentoring Program click here.


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!