The Success Of Mentoring

My Sister, My Friend

Gaye and Kris

Gaye and Kris

In 1978 the Big and Little Sister Mentor program was created with the objective of reaching young girls of the community in need of guidance.  Among the first to be matched was Big Sister Gaye with Little Sister Kristine.  This was the beginning of a friendship that has lasted almost 30 years. 

Gaye first became involved in the Big Sister League as a professional woman who wanted to impact the lives of young women.  Kristine came to the program when she was 7 years old.  Her father recognized the necessity of a female role model to take the place of her absent mother.

Gaye’s one-year commitment to Kristine as her Big Sister began a life-long friendship filled with memories.  When Kristine was young Gaye took her to the Zoo, Balboa Park, Seaport Village, amusement parks, and the movies, and sometimes Gaye simply took Kristine to work with her or to run errands.  Once they took a special trip to Los Angeles to see CATS.  Today, Kristine’s favorite memories are of the times when Gaye would hold her hand and tell her she was special.  Gaye remembers fondly the excitement and joy of the holidays spent together.  One exceptional memory for both women was when Gaye stood in as Kristine’s mother at her wedding. 

Like most Big Sisters, Gaye recognized the challenge of keeping up with cultural and other outside influences on her Little Sister.  There were times in their relationship where she struggled to communicate with Kristine.  Kristine reflected on this time with Gaye saying, “When I was a teenager, there were times where I was very distant, doing my own thing.  Sometimes I did not call.  I am sure that I hurt her feelings; however, she was still always there for me.”  Gaye’s goal was always to show kindness, compassion, and dedication, and as a result the rewards of her commitment far outweigh any challenges.  Throughout their friendship, she has watched Kristine experience life, change, and grow into a responsible and loving adult.  Kristine is grateful to Gaye for teaching her honesty, independence, and dependability.  Gaye showed her the importance of working hard and being dedicated to the people you love. 

It is with joy and gratitude that both women look back over the development of their friendship.  Kristine says, “I have a strong friendship with Gaye, and I just could not imagine my life without her.  I do not think I would be the same person; she has taught me to become who I am.”  And Gaye reflects, “My time as a Big Sister has been a wonderful experience that I am so glad that I had.”  Her advice to Big Sisters is to be dedicated, responsible, caring, and compassionate, and always tell your Little Sister how special she is.  A Big Sister must recognize their position of influence and work hard to set a good example.  To Little Sisters Kristine says, “Do not forget to thank your Big Sister and tell her you appreciate her.” 

- Gaye, Big Sister

Aside from serving as a Big Sister, Gaye also contributes her time and resources to the League’s Housing Program providing makeovers for residents


Marie Madden & Mercedes

Marie Madden & Mercedes

“Mercedes told me she has someone to look up to, someone who can teach her about flowers and plants, and someone she can tell how she feels and trust and understand her.”

- Marie Madden, Big Sister
April 5, 2003

“I wanted to write and say thank you for the match for [my daughter] Jarnesha, she is having a wonderful time with Jeanie (her Big Sister). Jarnesha and Jeanie have so much in common and she adores Jeanie. I couldn’t have asked for a better match. The Big Sister League has been a wonderful attribute to my girls and I thank you for the opportunity for them to be in the program. Jarnesha is loving the time they are spending together and talks non-stop about her outings with Jeanie. [My other daughter] Kiaonno and [her Big Sister] Ellen are doing well too, we are all an extended family.”

- Wilhelmina Artis
April 29, 2003

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