When Selena and Kate were matched in 2011 neither anticipated the bond that would form or the lifelong friendship that was about to unfold. Thoroughly screened and trained by BBBS, Kate felt prepared but was still filled with nervous excitement when they first met. Selena was ten years old, a bit shy and had some struggles with school. She’d had limited exposure to anything outside of the home.
Their goals were simple: increase outside time, healthy lifestyle lessons, homework help, and confidence-building.
The pair got together weekly for one-on-one outings doing things like crafts, two-person sports, cooking, “study nights,” and homemade scavenger hunts. They often participated in activities put on by BBBS such as attending London Lightning & Knights games, BeActive events, an annual fishing derby, a trip to the Science Museum, and many, many more – all opportunities Selena may not have otherwise been exposed to. Their friendship was strong, and Kate would tell Selena, “You’ll always have someone cheering for you.” When it came time for grade eight graduation, Selena recalls having to beg her family to attend, but she knew Kate couldn’t wait to be there to see her walk across the stage. (Selena not only made the Honour Roll but also earned the Proficiency Award.) With her confidence improving, in high school Selena helped run grade 8 orientation tours, joined the band, volleyball team, and – taking after her Big Sister – even the rugby team. When the band performed at a high school across town and no family members would go, Kate attended. Years later, Selena talks about how Kate showing up and bringing flowers made her feel special and loved.
While in high school Selena had a goal of completing 1000 hours of community service (the provincial requirement is 40). Together they’ve planted countless trees, cleaned up parks, and helped at many charity events. When it comes to volunteering, there’s nothing these two won’t try. It’s one of their favourite things to do together and they have no intention of stopping. (Selena surpassed her 1000-hour goal long ago but continues to volunteer for the enjoyment.)
Kate has been a constant in Selena’s life. Through moves and school changes and curveballs to her homelife, Selena knows she can count on Kate. Now graduating from high school, Selena is a strong, confident young woman with a bright future. She and Kate enjoy monthly trips to The Factory and lots of texting in between visits. Kate has also unofficially become Selena’s driving instructor!
Throughout their 8-year relationship, BBBS has worked to ensure that Selena and Kate (and all the Bigs and Littles) are supported. From loaning soccer balls and offering Knights tickets, to providing advice and emergency resources for a teenager in need of a place to live, and so much more, the BBBS team not only made this relationship possible, but made it a success.
Together Kate and Selena hope that BBBS wins this generous giveaway so more children on the waitlist can benefit from the same success.
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