Volunteering with your Little Sister by guest blogger, Elysabeth Reichman
A few weeks ago, my Little Sister, Madisyn and I were reminiscing about all of the things we’ve done together in the year that we have been matched. We talked about seeing Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in 3D, getting free tickets to see The Color Purple at the Wang, making dozens of S’mores cookies, playing countless games of Iron Chef on the Wii, and the hours of talking and laughing and listening to music. She smiled at me over her Pad Thai lunch (her first time using chopsticks!) and said, “And I loved when we volunteered together.”
This past spring, I signed up Madisyn and myself for a special volunteer morning at the Family Nurturing Center in Dorchester. Our task would be to assemble “welcome baby” baskets for new moms. I was excited about the opportunity. I have volunteered since I was about 12–Madisyn’s age–and I wanted to show her how much fun and how worthwhile volunteering can be. She was not as excited about the prospect. When I mentioned that I had signed us up to do it, she was worried that it wouldn’t be fun, and she was quiet during the car ride there. I assured her that we would have a great time, and she smiled. I hoped that we really would.
When we got to the Family Nurturing Center, we got instructions on how to make our baskets. Each basket was to contain a blanket, an outfit, a toy, a book, a tiny hat and other small items. The leader asked us to go through the boxes and bins of donations and pick our favorite items to include in the baskets. Madisyn “oohed” and “ahhed” over the beautiful handmade blankets and hats and tried to match them perfectly with the baby clothes that people donated. We both had a hard time wrapping our baskets in pastel-colored tulle, but we worked well as a team to get the job done. Along with another Big and Little Sister, we made forty baskets in just a couple hours. Madisyn beamed with pride as we stocked the store room of the Family Nurturing Center.
I keep a picture at my desk of the two of us on that day, posing with our baby baskets. I’m so proud that I was able to introduce my Little Sister to volunteering, and I’m so glad that she realized how important it is to give back to other people. I hope that I’ve opened her up to interests she may not have considered before, and that she and I can find more ways to get involved in our community. I would encourage other Big Sisters to look for service opportunities like this—it’s a great way to spend a day with your Little Sister and she may just find her own passion for volunteering.
Click here to check out Big Sister’s latest newsletter and read about another Big and Little Sister who recently gave back by participating in the Walk for Hunger!