Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Big/Little Sister match discuss mentoring, First Stage and more!


First Stage has had a long partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters, from special offers for Bigs and Littles to attend performances (there’s one coming up for TO THE PROMISED LAND on January 27) to Bigs and Littles volunteering in our lobby. 

Big/Little Sister Match Lori and Adriane
January is National Mentoring Month and Big Brothers Big Sisters is seeking new volunteer mentors in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties to help serve the 500 children on its waiting list.  “This is a really important recruitment initiative for us,” said Kelly Klus, recruitment manager.  Big Brothers Big Sisters is known for the balance of support and encouragement available to new mentors.  “We provide all the tools you’ll need through the ages and stages of Littles becoming adults,” Klus continued.  In addition, the organization hosts social networking events for current Bigs and individuals interested in becoming a mentor called Mix@Six.  This is an opportunity for individuals to meet face to face with other Bigs to ask questions and share stories.  “The support is really great,” said Lori, a special education teacher and Big Sister.  “They said call me anytime and they really mean it.  There is a team of people helping your “little” reach their full potential.”

We recently had the pleasure of speaking to Lori and Adriane, a Big/Little Sister match who have been together for five years.  Lori is a special education teacher at ALAS (Advanced Language Academic SCHOOL) and her “Little” Adriane is a senior at the same school – but that isn’t how they met.

Lori’s daughter was originally looking into becoming a Big Sister herself, then tabled the plans when she went away for college.  Lori found herself with an “empty nest” and more time when she stumbled upon the information on the kitchen counter.  She immediately recognized that becoming a “Big” was something she could do!  Adriane’s mother was the person who encouraged her to get involved.  “I was spending too much time at home – usually in my room reading,” said Adriane.  “My mom was like, ‘you’ve got to get out and meet new people and try new things,’” she continued. 

Just a few minutes into the interview and something became clear – the way they joked, reminisced and sometimes even completed each other’s sentences – this match was meant to be.  “I think we might have really been sisters in another lifetime,” said Lori.

Lori and Adriane enjoy First Stage
What kind of things do you like to do together?
All kinds of things like gardening, ball games, ice skating, roller skating. . .
Adriane:  Lori would ask me, ‘Would you like to do this or that?’ and I’d say I don’t know I’ve never tried it, but I’d like to. 

Have you been to First Stage?
Both:  Yes!  We volunteered in the Lobby [at the Todd Wehr Theater] handing out programs and just helping out. 
Adriane:  We also saw that time-travel play, THE MAGIC BICYCLE!  Yes!  That was the time I broke my shoe!  [Both laugh and share the story of Adriane’s first time dressing up to go to the theater]

What was your favorite part about coming to First Stage?
Adriane:
  I loved Summer Academy.  (Adriane attended First Stage Theater Academy two summers ago for two weeks)  It’s like, there is nothing I can’t like about this place!  The motto of First Stage Theater Academy is Life Skills Through Stage Skills.  Adriane calls it simply, “bringing out the true you.”

Lori:  Just seeing the change in Adriane has been great.  I just loved seeing her at her performance.  It was so great to see her speak up and not be shy!  She used to always cover up her smile – she doesn’t do that anymore.

Adriane at First Stage Theater Academy
What has been the most memorable part of being in BBBS?
Lori:
 Just seeing Adriane hanging out with good kids, seeing her perform after her time at First Stage and just seeing the change in her – she’s really blossomed.  We’ve created a lot of traditions with each other over the years, like baking cookies and ice skating.  It’s become a lifelong relationship.

Adriane:  I loved the time we went rock climbing and Lori got stuck up near the top and I had to help her get down by encouraging her.

How has your experience at BBBS changed you or help you grow?
Adriane:  I used to be a “nerve-wrecker” (something Adriane describes as being a bit of a prankster) but this experience has helped me grow into the young woman I need to be. 
Lori:  Adriane is just so much more independent now – she sets her alarm for 6:02 am just to get ready and get to school on time.  In particular, her experience at First Stage gave her an opportunity to have a creative outlet and she gained a willingness to do new things and continue to try new things, even something as small as trying breakfast for dinner. 

What would you say to someone considering becoming a mentor or a little?
Lori:
  BBBS has such amazing support and organization they make it really easy – once you begin you’ll see that making this commitment isn’t scary at all.  Give it a shot and you’ll definitely enjoy it!
This city has so much to offer and this is a great way to get young people out and trying new things.  Young people can tend to get really isolated. 
Adriane:  I’d say just give it a try.  Once you do you’ll like it.  Yeah.  I know you’ll like it.



Click here to learn about mentoring a youth with at Big Brothers Big Sisters.

If you are ready to start the process to becoming a mentor, email Startsomething@bbbsmilwaukee.org or call 414-831-4563. 

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