HomeVolunteerSuccess StoriesNow & Then: Two Generations of Big Sister Success Stories

Now & Then: Two Generations of Big Sister Success Stories

Now and Then Cover

Pictured above: Amanda (middle) poses with her Big Sister Laura of 26 years (left) and her Little Sister seven years, Georgia (left).


July 2016 - It’s been 26 years since Amanda first met her Big Sister Laura. Now, at 34-years-of-age, Amanda reflects on what it was like having a Big Sister growing up, and what it is like being a Big Sister now.

The year was 1990. At the time, Amanda was nine-years-old. Like many elementary-aged youth serviced by Big Brothers Big Sisters, Amanda’s mother recognized the benefits that a positive role model, mentor and friend could have on her daughter.

Growing up, Amanda and her half-sister shared a 13-year age difference. While they maintain a great relationship nowadays, at the time, a 13-year age difference meant past times, hobbies and interests didn’t necessarily overlap.

As a result, Amanda’s mother thought that she would benefit from the companionship of a Big Sister. Unknowingly, this was the beginning of a 26 year (and counting) friendship.

Amanda smiles when she reminisces – “I still call her my Big Sister,” she says. “Laura was very reliable and committed. Each week she would arrive for our outing.” Some of their favourite outings included going for ice cream and doing ‘outdoor stuff.’ At 16-years-old, “Laura taught me to drive.” Amanda laughs - “she was the first person to trust me with her car!” Then nine years into their match, Amanda was a bridesmaid in Laura’s wedding.

Amanda recalls the long-term benefits of having Laura as a mentor and a friend. “I was a quiet child. Laura helped me open up and be more social and more confident in myself,” she says.

The positive benefits of their match inspired Amanda to follow the same path. She knew she wanted to be a Big Sister when she was older. “I wanted to give back because of my positive experience … I wanted to do that for another child,” Amanda says. The only thing holding her back was waiting until timing was right.

After high-school, Amanda embarked on her journey into adulthood. She spent seven years working, studying and completing her post-secondary education. At 27, Amanda was now a university graduate. She felt like she had more time and was stable. She was ready to be a Big Sister. In 2009, Amanda was matched to her Little Sister, Georgia. (Continued below ...)

July 2, 2009 Gage Park Amanda and Georgia
Pictured above: Big Sister Amanda poses with Little Sister Georgia on their first outing, July 2, 2009.


(Continued ...) Georgia and Amanda remember their first outing fondly. They attended “It’s Your Festival” on Canada Day long weekend 2009. While you couldn’t tell nowadays, Georgia says, “I was really shy.” She was nine-years-old at the time.

Like any relationship, Amanda and Georgia’s bond grew with time.

Amanda admits that Georgia taught her important lessons about patience. “She was young at the beginning, but I wouldn’t give up,” Amanda said. “She made me want to continue to be a positive role model … because she wanted as much out of the relationship as I did.”

Like clockwork, Amanda and Georgia hung out every Friday. Seven years later, “We’ve created a life-long relationship,” says Amanda, explaining that they have become like family, and have expanded each other’s family.

One of Georgia’s favourite memories is when Amanda took her to her first concert. Among thousands of screaming fans, it was a dream come true for Georgia as they saw Justin Bieber live in concert. Leading up to the occasion, the duo made their own glow-in-the-dark t-shirts. Georgia laughed.

Over their years of friendship, Amanda and Georgia no doubt have had lots of fun. Equally, they have been there for each other’s monumental moments.

Amanda is always cheering Georgia on. She was there for her Grade 6 and 8 graduations among her school and community theatre performances. Most recently,Georgia performed in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Spamalot.

Georgia has also been there for Amanda’s milestones, including celebrating the birth of her three children: Twins, Brierly and Elliott, and the most recent edition, Finnegan, born on June 12, 2016. “She’s Auntie Georgia,” says Amanda. “She loves the kids … eventually Georgia will babysit.”

In September, Georgia will enter Grade 12. She hopes to pursue Speech Pathology as a career and perform in the theatre as a hobby on the side. As a realist, Georgia admits that while she enjoys acting, it is an unrealistic career goal.

“I have definitely seen her mature – she is more social and independent,” says Amanda.

After seven years, Amanda and Georgia are like old pals. They finish each other’s sentences, joke a lot, support each other and equally take time to talk about grown up things. “We have discussions about real-life topics, things that are sensationalized in the media, choices and lifestyles.”

Amanda is proud. She says Georgia makes good decisions, and she is always there to talk and re-enforce Georgia’s positive choices.

“They’re incredible … they will be friends forever,” says Michelle Cleugh, Caseworker at Big Brothers Big Sisters.

To Georgia, having a Big Sister has meant “having another family member.” “It provides friendship and the opportunity to have ‘me time,’ a break from home life and to focus on my own needs.”

For Amanda, among all the great things, “I got to re-live my childhood being with Georgia.” Amanda says she would recommend being a Big Sister to anyone – “Just do it! It’s very rewarding!”

120 CHILDREN ARE WAITING!

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!