Yesterday we shared Part 1 of the story that led to Shelly becoming Big Sister of the Year. Today, we’d like to share the letter from Cindy’s Mom, Marianna.

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Shelly and Kelly (President of BGCBigs Board of Director)

I would like to express my gratitude for having Shelly as my child Cindy’s mentor (Big Sister). Thanks to the help of the Big Brother and Big Sister introducing Shelly to our family, we have gained not only a friend but also a family member. I believe friends are the family that we choose.

Since Shelly being a Big Sister with Cindy for the last 8 years from Grade 2 to 9, I have seen much exemplary guidance that Shelly has provided for my daughter. We have a better quality of life and my child is happier in general.

When I first met Shelly, I noticed that she is a cheerful person. She has been a mentor in Ontario for years. Her experiences with Little Sister plus her loving and caring attitudes helps transform my daughter from a shy and lonely girl into a confident teenager. Cindy is well-rounded and got along with fellow students and teachers. She had been the top student in her Grade from 7 to 9. This would not have happed without the help of her Big Sister Shelly.

Shelly is my right-hand woman in raising Cindy. Over the years, I have entrusted her with the care and education of Cindy. When Cindy was in Grade 2-3, Shelly spent a lot of time in reading with her every week as an in-school mentor. I was worried that Cindy might get some foreign accent in speaking English because of our Chinese culture. Therefore, I had requested Shelly to focus on rectifying Cindy’s accent. Now, Cindy has a perfect Canadian accent plus a solid foundation in English.

As we are a single parent family and Cindy is the only child, she is quite lonely on a daily basis. After work, I am often too tired to even play with her because my job is too physical. Therefore, in Grade 4-5, I had asked Shelly to spend more time on playing board games, solving riddles and baking muffins etc. This took a big load off my shoulders and saved me from depression. Most importantly, I could see that they had fun!

While Cindy was in Grade 6, Shelly had a new job. It became difficult for her to come to school as a mentor. However, this does not stop her from volunteering as a Big Sister. Shelly asked to be an out of school mentor and began to take Cindy out once a month. Shelly has broadened Cindy’s world by taking her to a lot of new places such as Fort Edmonton, Science Centre, museum, berry picking, and archery fun.  They went to some of the places that I may never bring Cindy to because of lack of a car.

To me, Grade7, 8, 9 had been very challenging to both me and Cindy. There were many problems that came up. To deal with new school and new classmates in Grade 7; teenager hormones, boy questions and conflicts at home in Grade 8; PAT exam, JA program, picking a new school for Grade 10 plus separation anxiety from Grade 9 classmates (long-term friends). All of the above were big bumps in our lives. Fortunately, we have Shelly to act as a wise and trusted counselor to offer help in all aspects of our lives. When Cindy has a secret and problem, she can always share it with Shelly. When Cindy is down, Shelly can surely cheer her up. When Cindy complains about too much homework, Shelly encourages her to loosen up.

I have seen and experienced how a great mentor (Big Sister) changed both of our lives. Shelly is not only a Big Sister to Cindy but to me as well. I want to let the world know and acknowledge her years of dedicated volunteer work! Cindy and I both prosper because of Shelly’s selfless act of kindness. Shelly is an example of a highly and successfully achieved mentor. I truly wish there are more Shelly in this world for more Little Sisters. We are ecstatic and lucky to have meet Shelly in this lifetime. We are not only sisters but family!

We want to thank the Big Brother and Big Sister from the bottom of our hearts and we won’t forget the caseworkers whom we have met. These are all wonderful people and beautiful at heart!

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