Little Sister Mykayla’s mom wanted to have a relationship with her daughter like Rory and Lorelai from “Gilmore Girls.” The mom and daughter were already so close in age that they were best friends, but throughout Mykayla’s childhood, her mother was sick. She was diagnosed with cancer when Mykayla was just a toddler, and she dealt with other severe illnesses and injuries. Mykayla’s mom enrolled Mykayla as a Little Sister when she was 10 years old. She wanted her daughter to have someone to talk to besides her, someone to be a role model. What she got was all that and more in Big Sister Shannon.
After more than 10 years in a refugee camp, Little Brother Ashis’ parents got to the United States and immediately wanted to give their son opportunities and a bright future. They enrolled Ashis as a Little through BBBS of Utah, and he was soon matched with Big Brother Paul. The match was exactly what they were looking for. “Paul’s influence has made Ashis want to achieve more,” Ashis’ parents say. “Ashis now has goals, in school and in basketball.”
When Little Sister Esmeralda learned she was failing the third grade, she turned to her Big Sister for help. When they first started reading together, she could barely read the menu. When she pulled the fortune from a fortune cookie and began to read it aloud to Chelsea, she stopped in the middle because she got to a word she didn’t know, too embarrassed to keep trying. Together, they began working on Esmeralda’s reading and building her confidence. After a year of reading books each time they met, Esmeralda passed third grade.
At their first match meeting, Big Brother Harrison and Little Brother Michael’s match support specialist and Michael’s mom left them alone to get to know one another. “We played basketball and talked for what must have been two hours,” Harrison says. “It got to the point that [Michael’s mom] said she would go home and I could drop him off when we got done, since we were having so much fun.” The fun and connection haven’t stopped for almost four years.
Ajaea was 5 when her mother died suddenly. With her father incarcerated, she and her sister went to live with their grandmother. Losing her mom left Ajaea feeling lost and scared. She would barely leave her grandmother’s side. She was matched with Big Sister Shari, and she began to share her feelings and cope with her grief. “She told me I could always talk to her about anything,” Ajaea says, “and I started to do just that.”