Real Life Stories

Raising Expectations

Being matched with a teenager could be seen as a challenge to some, but Big Sister Riva was up for it. “I was nervous that as a cheerful, upbeat kind of person I would irritate her,” she tells us. Her match specialist provided ample guidance and support before their first meeting, to ensure things went smoothly. “Before meeting Dobby, I knew that she was really interested in the environment and animals, loved to read, wrote poetry, and wanted to do active things outside,” Riva says.

They quickly found their groove, bonding over books and movies and their love of dark humor. For Riva, though, the simplest moments with Dobby are her most memorable. “I think my favorite outings though are when [we] play games, watch TV, or cook vegan food.”

Dobby has thrown Riva a few surprises over their now-three-year match. “I think the biggest disconnect between expectations and reality,” Riva tells us, “was that I thought Dobby would be like I was at her age, and she is of course her own self.”

Long since those initial nervous feelings faded away, Riva reflects on how much this teen has taught her. “My relationship with Dobby has changed the way I see disability, agriculture, city planning, childhood, science fiction, and so much more,” Riva says. “I have learned to question so many things I’ve never really looked at, about the world and my perspective.”

It’s clear from the stories she shares that Riva couldn’t be prouder of her strong-willed, inquisitive Little Sister. “Dobby genuinely doesn’t care what people think she should be, do, or think, she just does what she sets out to do. I am so impressed with that.”

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