Back in 2006, Jessy was just 8 years old and new to Maine. She had recently moved from New York and was missing her family and friends. Her mother thought that she might benefit from a mentoring relationship, so they enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Jessy was matched, however, her first Big had to back out after just a few weeks due to personal reasons. But then Cathy applied to be a Big and got matched to Jessy in the Site-Based program in December 2006. While at first it didn’t seem like Cathy and Jessy had much in common – Jessy wanted someone she could play sports with, which Cathy didn’t do – they eventually found some similarities, including their mutual love for flea markets.
Cathy and Jessy would meet every week at school throughout the first year of their match. As their friendship progressed, they would also spend time doing activities within the community, especially in the summertime. Cathy was there for Jessy through every transition and supported her as she grew into a confident young woman.
Cathy and Jessy were officially matched in the program for 10 years, graduating when Jessy graduated from high school in 2016.
Now, nearly 17 years after they first met, Cathy and Jessy are still very good friends. Cathy attended Jessy’s college graduation at USM last year and they stay connected via phone since Jessy currently lives in France.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Cathy and Jessy and they shared the following remarks:
From Jessy (Little)
Cathy, my Big, and this program, have been a part of some of the biggest moments of my life and have changed it.
Today, I am a paid writer for my favorite blog and just one year into my match with Cathy, she gave me a pen and paper to write my first story. We would spend Wednesday lunches talking about the Titanic and now that’s what I often write about.
Cathy took a child who struggled with confidence in reading and made someone who never leaves the house without a book.
Cathy, and by extension, this program has given me so many tools to bloom into the person I’ve always dreamed of being. Today, I’m across the world, living and working in France with the passport she gifted me with for my high school graduation and my things are in boxes in her basement.
I could go on and on about the gifts Cathy had given me, the patience and love she has shown me, but without Big Brothers Big Sisters, I’m not sure where I would be. This program has been here for me for more than half of my life and has always included Cathy and I, welcoming us back to pizza night and celebrating our grand success as lifelong friends. Thank you and cheers to many other matches who I hope will grow to be just like ours!
From Cathy (Big)
I have learned so much from Jessy and her family and am so very grateful for her friendship! The real credit goes to her mother for recognizing that Jessy needed another female in her life after just moving from NY and leaving behind her grandmother to whom she was (and is) very close. I think it takes a secure, strong woman to want to introduce a new woman into her young child’s life, but she knew Jessy would benefit. Funny as it is, I am actually her grandmother’s age which she gleefully told folks many times when we said we were a BBBS match 🙂