Laura is an alumni Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area. This is her match story, in her own words.
Tanya and I are about to celebrate 30 years of sisterhood! Our story began in March, 1987 when Tanya was just 8 years old and I was 25. We have shared an incredible relationship and friendship, and made many great memories along the way.
The first time I met Tanya, she was living in Menlo Park with her mom, Maria. Tanya was an only child; Maria never married and was a single mother from Mexico. Tanya and Maria lived in a one-bedroom apartment in the back of the house where Maria was the caretaker and house cleaner.
When we met, Tanya was in the 2nd grade and was the cutest, sweetest, smartest little girl. We loved going to Pizza and Pipes in Redwood City and had so much fun singing at the top of our lungs on the car rides there and back. We also loved to attend Bowl for Kids Sake and the Big Brothers Big Sisters annual Christmas parties. One of our favorite things we did together was to go to “Glamour Shots,” where we got all dressed up and took photos and head shots and we pretended we were models.
Tanya has never expected anything from me. She never expected me to buy her anything or spend money on her; we just enjoyed spending time with each other. I would describe our relationship as easy-going, fun, and rewarding. I have learned a lot from Tanya over the years and believe I have benefited as much, if not more, than Tanya has from our time together. It has been one of the best experiences in my life. My relationship with Tanya has not only changed my life, she is part of my life and part of our family, and I consider her my sister.
I attended Tanya’s 5th grade elementary school ceremony, her junior high graduation, her high school graduation, and her college graduation from UCSD. I was there when she bought her house in East Palo Alto, which was an extremely proud moment! She was a junior bridesmaid at my wedding 25 years ago and sang a song at my wedding, and I attended her wedding 10 years ago.
She was there at the birth of my daughters who are now 19 and 21, and she has been a mentor and an incredible role model to them.
This experience has been more than I ever expected or hoped it would ever be, and it has changed my life for the better. Tanya has taught me to be more appreciative and humble, and to slow down and enjoy life. She is much more laid-back than I am, so she is perfect for me! She has also shown me that with hard work one can do just about anything.
Today I am the proud big sister of a successful woman! Tanya is now 38 years old and celebrating her 8th year as a Radiologist at Stanford Hospital. She is smart, hard-working, and successful.
Our story will continue to unfold in the years to come and I am excited to see what the future holds for the both of us!
I would tell people who are thinking about becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister that it is a life-changing experience, and that our world needs more mentors. The time to become a Big Brother or Sister is now. A Big Brother or Big Sister will make a big difference in a child’s life, and one child at a time we can help make this world just a little better.