While on a once in a lifetime trip to to Machu Picchu, Peru, Big Sister Celia realized “I was so lucky and grateful to have the life that I did and I had this overwhelming desire to give back to my community.” She returned home, signed up to volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and ten months later she met her Little Sister, Lesly. Celia’s Little Sister, Lesly, was only seven years old when they were matched. “Our relationship has changed a lot since we first met” says Celia. “She would hold my hand when we walked down the street… she would sing and dance a lot… even serenade me.” But now Lesly is about to go off to college.
Time has only strengthened their bond. Celia clearly cares about Lesly’s well-being and her success in life. She’s helped Lesly through high school and looking into colleges and financial aid. Lesly says that when she started the program she ‘kind of’ had bad grades but Celia helped her study. The effort has paid off —Lesly has recently been accepted by all five colleges to which she applied. Lesly says she wasn’t even thinking about college a few years ago.
Their relationship may be long lasting but it also runs deep. “Last week Lesly called to tell me she got accepted into San Jose State University (my alma mater)” beams Celia. “She wanted me to be the first person she told.”