Katie and Meirah

Meirah and Katie 

See you - It's September


September 2012 - Within two years, Big Sister Katie and Little Sister Meirah have become much more than simply two members of our Traditional Match Program. “I don’t consider her as a Big Sister; I consider her family,” said Meriah, adding, “she’s a big part of our family; everyone loves her.” Noof, Meriah’s mother, could not agree more. “I love her,” she said.

 

Despite their inseparable bond, their match closes this September. By mid-September, Katie and Meirah will be an ocean apart. Before then, “I want to spend as much time as I can with Katie. I’m sad, but I’m happy for her,” said Meirah.

Twenty-two-year-old Katie, an aspiring family law lawyer, is going to England to study law at the University of Kent, Cantebury, UK. Katie prides herself in a future of working with families in need of support, and feels like being a Big Sister has helped prepare her for this journey.

Her determined pursuit began with her undergraduate in History and Philosophy at McMaster University. During the application process, Katie had lots of support from Meirah and her family. They said, “We prayed for you every day. We knew you were going to get it.” Then in January, Katie received her acceptance letter.

“In our religion – if you pray for someone, sometimes it comes true, so we really prayed for Katie.” These were some of the first words 11-year-old Meirah shared in our mid-July interview.

When the Match first met in June 2010, Katie was nervous. At the time, Meirah was a newcomer to the area. Katie had previously joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hamilton and Burlington as a mentor; however, her first match did not work out. Apprehensive to meet a new Little, Katie said, “You’re always nervous when you meet someone for the first time,” but their introduction was great, said Katie, explaining that Meirah was “really sweet and shy at the same time.” Over the past two years, Katie says that Meirah has become much more open.

Upon meeting Meirah, it was quite apparent that the shy girl from two years ago was nowhere to be seen. Meirah was confident, talkative and genuinely whole-hearted. Much of who Meirah is today is attributed to Katie. Meirah highlighted a list of “things” Katie has taught her. “She helped my confidence,” said Meirah, telling a story about when Katie helped her conquer her fear of performing a dance routine in front of her class. Meirah received an A for her performance. Aside from a confidence boost, Katie helps Meirah when she has problems, teaches her about fashion and baking, she’s helped her prepare for tests, with homework, and even “not to be afraid of cats,” explained Meirah.

While Katie certainly has done her part in mentoring Meirah, this relationship has not been a one-sided. Meirah has taught Katie Arabic and about her culture in general. Meirah “taught me how to appreciate things in my life,” said Katie.

In a separate interview, Katie explained how motivated – yet modest – Meirah is. She is very dedicated to her schooling. In person, this could not be more apparent. Meirah’s eyes widen when she talks about school.

“I have three dreams. Number one – I want to be a doctor … I want my part-time job to be a musician,” said Meirah. She also hopes to be a scientist. Not surprisingly, Meirah’s favourite subjects in school are math, science, social studies and music (all in which she predominantly receives As). Currently entering grade seven, Meirah has always been an intellect. When she was in grade two, she was offered entrance into a grade four gifted program. After a discussion with her family, Meirah declined the offer: “I just want to live in every grade and not skip,” she explained.

Both Big and Little agree that although an ocean will soon separate them, they will not literally be an ocean apart. Meirah and Katie plan to keep in touch by e-mail, Skype and through apple’s facetime. “She will always be a part of my life. I won’t forget her; she won’t forget me,” says Katie.

Originally, Meirah did not want a new Big Sister. She felt like nobody could replace Katie. Now, apprehensive about developing a relationship with a new Big Sister, Meirah accepts the idea (on the condition that she is equally nice, helpful and has cats).

Katie encourages others to take part in the Traditional Match Program. She says, “I would encourage others to be a Big because it truly is a rewarding experience unlike any other … It is a kind of relationship that one cannot explain simply through words, but needs to experience it.”

When she is old enough, Meirah plans to be a Big Sister. She says she’ll never forget how much it meant to her: “when I was young, someone did that for me and I want to do that for them.”

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