involvement with Big Brothers and Big Sisters started quite a few years
ago. I was 7 or 8 when my mom first signed me up to be matched with a
Big Sister. Considering my situation, I always felt lucky to have the
mom I do. My mom did everything she could to give my two sisters and I a
“normal” life. We were always involved in extra-curricular activities
at school and fun activities in the community. At the time, none of us
were even aware we were barely making ends meat. I had no idea growing
up that we were financially poor.
My dad was pretty much out of
the picture when I was about 5. At home were my mom, me, and my two
younger sisters. My mom worked while we were in school, and was always
home with us in the evening. With our best interests in mind, my mom
enrolled us all in the big sisters program. While she was an amazing
role model for all of us, it was a perfect opportunity to give us each
another positive mentor in our lives.
It was at this point I was
introduced to my big sister, Marion. I don’t remember having too many
hesitations about having a big sister. I had no expectations, but I do
remember being really excited about being able to go out alone…without
my sisters! Coming from a single-parent home didn’t give me much
one-on-one time with anyone. Marion welcomed me into her life with open
arms. There was almost an immediate level of comfort with us. While we
didn’t know each other, I felt comfortable telling her about me. Marion
never let me down, and I am forever thankful for that.
and I were matched, she wasn’t married and had no children. I felt so
lucky to have her to lean on. It’s amazing the difference it makes for a
child to have an adult focus all their attention on them. We shared
many great memories together. What started off as a simple adult-child
relationship, turned into a lifelong friendship. We learned that family
doesn’t always mean bloodlines.
I was lucky to have been there to
celebrate her two sons and her wedding to her husband Terry. I remember
when we moved to Quesnel for a few months, I wasn’t able to make it down
for her wedding ceremony. I was devastated. After 5 years, she’d never
let me down…and here I was stuck in Quesnel with no possible way of
making it to her wedding. I cried and cried and cried. She knew how
upset I was that I couldn’t make it…she called me the morning of her
wedding to reassure me that everything was ok, and not to be upset.
Things come up and we’d celebrate another time. What bride takes the
time out of their special day to call someone who isn’t making it to
their wedding? After getting off the phone with her, I felt like a
We knew that when we graduated from the Big Sisters
program, which happens with the little turns 18, we knew that it wasn’t
the end…it was merely the beginning of a new chapter in our lives.
Since then Marion and I don’t talk all the time, but when we find the
time…we always catch up. We live in two completely different areas and
both have busy lives to live. When something important is taking place
in our lives – we always make the best effort to get together in person.
I was especially excited to have her come to the mainland for my
wedding reception in November 2007. Her whole family came over…and when
we see each other, it’s like we haven’t been separated for 6 or 8
months. I love seeing her.
I decided at about 12 or 13 that one
day, I too would be a big sister. I wanted to be able to give another
girl exactly what Marion gave me – a friend, a mentor, and a leader. I
thrive on being a positive person and want nothing more but to pass my
views on life on to someone who may need some encouragement.
a month ago, I was matched with my little sister Alicia. We’ve only
gotten together a few times since our match, but things are going great.
She’s an eager girl, excited about life, and very outgoing. She comes
from a family very similar to mine. Although we’re separated by about 15
years in age, we already have many things in common. She’s excited
about having a big sister, and I’m very excited about having a little
sister. I want to be able to share many fun memories with Alicia.
can only dream that one day, she’ll be standing where I am now…talking
about our great friendship we had and how excited she is about her new
by Candace Martyn – Past Big Sister and past Little Sister
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley