Monthly Archives: June 2011

Let’s Move: Big Sister & Alpha Kappa Alpha help girls on our wait list “Spring into Wellness”

A BFAD volunteer and her Little Sister

A Big for a Day volunteer and her Little Sister show off the tote bag they designed during the “Spring into Wellness” event held at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury last month.

The First Lady is doing it;  Beyonce is doing it and by hosting a “Spring into Wellness” themed Big for a Day(BFAD) event last month,  Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority and Big Sister Association are doing it to. We are helping girls make healthy nutrition and physical activity choices.

Inspired by Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative, which aims to reduce childhood obesity, AKA invited 30 girls on our wait list and 30 BFAD volunteers to the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury for an afternoon filled with zumba, yoga, arts and crafts, and a healthy snacks discussion.

Esther Slack, President of the Rho Epsilon Omega Chapter of AKA said, “Hosting BFAD is an extremely rewarding experience for the three Greater Boston area chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.  Since 1908, part of our sorority’s mission is to help alleviate problems concerning girls and women, so this partnership was a perfect fit.  For the second year in a row, we have heard the “Littles” say “We have to go already?!”; hearing this lets us know we are helping Big Sister achieve their goal.”
Little Sister Amber shows off her newly designed bag.

A Little Sister shows off her newly designed gym bag while drinking a nice, healthy smoothie! 

Big Sister Association’s BFAD program pairs women with Little Sisters on our wait list. This program is a wonderful way for our Little Sisters to enjoy fun activities while waiting to be matched and for women to get involved if they are unable to commit to a traditional match. Each month, Big Sister partners with a different company or service organization to sponsor a BFAD event. BFAD activities have included trips to a museum, dance workshops, and cooking classes! BFAD volunteers are women who have gone through Big Sister’s screening process and/or are in the process of becoming a Community-Based Big Sister.

Upcoming Big for a Day Events

We have several exciting BFAD activities coming up this summer, and would love for you to participate!

  • July 16 – Big Sister Summer Picnic. Join other matches for a fun-filled day including swimming, frisbee, sandcastle-building, crafts, and much more!
  • July 31 – Mini Golf. Test your mini golf skills with the Boston Chapter of the Executive Women’s Golf Association!
  • August 13 – Explore the JFK Library. Brush up on your history and politics while taking in a beautiful view of Boston and the water!

Want to sign up? Have questions? Contact Jen Gentile.

**Please note: if you are currently involved in a Community-Based match, you are not eligible to participate in Big For a Day.

Big Sister’s BMW Raffle: Have your own Oprah Moment

We’ve all  heard about, or watched, the episode.

Oprah’s Car Giveaway: YouTube Remix | Original

On the set of the Oprah Winfrey Show,  guests open ribboned boxes hoping to find a key to a brand new car.  Squeals of surprise and joy fill the studio as, one by one, guests find out that they have all won.  Magnanimous and smiling, Oprah calls “You get a car! You get a car!” to each and every guest.

With our 23rd Annual BMW Raffle, you can have you own Oprah moment, courtesy of Big Sister and Herb Chambers BMW Boston.  Picture yourself in a brand new red BMW convertible or select the $38,000 cash prize instead!

2011 BMW Raffle: Click the car to purchase your ticket!

Raffle tickets are $100 each or 3 for $250. We’re only selling 1,750 so the odds of winning are amazing. The bonus:  your raffle ticket purchase helps support our mentoring programs for girls.

Could you be the winner? You’ll never know unless you enter.

Click here to purchase your BMW raffle ticket today.

The drawing is July 29, 2011 at 1pm at Faneuil Hall. Need not be present to win.

Which will you choose?

Special thanks to our raffle partner: 

Herb Chambers BMW Boston

Big Sister Works to Recruit More Volunteers in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan

Early this month, there were 103 girls in Dorchester waiting to be matched with a Big Sister. View more photos from the parade.

On Sunday June 5, Big Sister Staff, members of the Diversity Council and Alumnae Board, and Big and Little Sisters marched in the Dorchester Day Parade to raise awareness of our need for more volunteers from that community.

One of the challenges we face at Big Sister is engaging more women as volunteers from the neighborhoods where we serve the most girls: Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan.  As you can see in the infographic below, there is a large disparity in the number of Big Sisters (purple circles) living in those neighborhoods as compared to Little Sisters (green circles).

In the three weeks since the Dorchester Day Parade, Big Sister has reduced the number of girls in Dorchester waiting to be matched with a Big Sister from 103 to 60.

Big and Little Sister by neighborhood (2010)

Big and Little Sisters by Boston neighborhood (2010 data). In 2010, 70% of all Little Sisters and 47% of all Big Sisters lived in the neighborhoods of Boston. There is a large disparity between the number of Little Sisters living in Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan and East Boston as compared to the number of Big Sisters also residing in those communities. Click image to view a larger version.

This summer we are launching our Each One Reach One campaign, where we ask current Big Sisters in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan to help us recruit women they know who would make great Big Sisters.  Big Sisters know first hand that mentoring has a powerful, positive impact on a girl’s life so we’re asking them to to reach out to at least three women that they know and share their story. We hope that these stories will convince their friends, family members or colleagues to make their own commitment to becoming a Big Sister.

If you know a woman who would make a great Big Sister, ask her to visit to find out more information and to  fill out an application or have her contact Sheena Collier at

Little Sister Jada & Big Sister Heather in the Dot Day Parade. SISTERS = Smart, Inspiring, Sincere, Trustworthy, Energetic, Respectful and Supportive.

Recruiting More Big Sisters: We Need Your Help!

Big Sister Laurel and  Little Sister Barbara want you to become A Big Sister.

Big Sister Laurel & Little Sister Barbara help recruit Big Sisters.

YOU can help the 279 girls currently waiting to be matched with a Big Sister!  As a Big Sister, you know firsthand that mentoring has a powerful, positive impact on a girl’s life. We need your help to bring this experience to more of Boston’s girls.

Did you know that people are more likely to volunteer with Big Sister Association if asked by someone they know? Please help us spread the word. One of your friends, co-workers, sisters, cousins, or neighbors may become a Big Sister to a girl on our wait list just because she hears your story. By using any (or all!) of the easy suggestions below, you can enable us to match girls in Boston with a wonderful new Big Sister!

  • Promote us on Facebook & Twitter.
    Tweet while hanging out with your Little SisterLike the Big Sister Association Facebook page. These are great ways to spread the word to one friend, which turns into two friends, which turns into four, etc.
  • Help us set up an information session at your job.
    Just make the connection! Introduce us to an office manager or staff in your employer’s human resources department and we’ll do the rest. Making that first connection is often the biggest challenge when recruiting potential Big Sisters.
  • Tell us about events where we can table. We’ll do the heavy lifting! Let us know of any community, organization, or neighborhood events where we can hand out materials about becoming a Big Sister.
  • Connect us to college alumni groups/sororities/women’s groups/professional groups. Help us connect to these already established groups. You may be surprised who always wanted to be a Big Sister, but just needed a little nudge.
  • Write a post for our blog. You don’t have to be Maya Angelou; just write about your experience. Hearing from you what it’s like to be a Big Sister can help potential volunteers overcome common misconceptions and concerns.
  • Host a house party. Summer is a great time to get together with friends and family! Why not turn it into something that gives back to the community by allowing a Big Sister representative to speak to the group while everyone enjoys food and drinks?
Email Sheena Collier at if you would like more information on any of these options.

Free Friday Flicks at the Hatch Shell

2011 Free Friday Flicks

For the 26th year, WBZ NewsRadio 1030 and the Department of Conservation and Recreation proudly present Free Friday Flicks at the Hatch Shell. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. Bring a blanket or lawn chair, pack a picnic and watch great family-friendly movies!

July 15:  Megamind

July 22:  Despicable Me

July 29:  How to Train Your Dragon

Aug. 5:  Tangled

Aug. 12:  Toy Story 3

Aug. 19:  Rango

Aug. 26:  Iron Man 2


Hat-tip @Mass Mentoring

Start Training: It’s Rodman Ride Season!

Join Team Big Sister

Do you love cycling and want to help Big Sister celebrate our 60th anniversary? Then join Team Big Sister in the 2011 Rodman Ride for Kids.

Every fall, Big Sister participates in the Rodman Ride for Kids, a 25-, 50-, and 100-mile non-competitive bike tour that raises funds for youth-serving agencies in Massachusetts.

We want to invite you to be a part of this year’s Team Big Sister as a rider, a “virtual rider”, or by making a donation in support of the team. This is a great event that brings together supporters, staff, Big Sisters, Little Sisters, and community partners in a fun team activity, all while raising funds for Big Sister!

To register to ride, please visit our TEAM PAGE.  Sign up and enjoy:

  • Team rides all summer
  • An official team jersey
  • An all day barbecue after the Ride
  • A team social event
  • A ride day gift bag
  • Chances to win prizes

and more…

Team Members are asked to raise $1,000.

Date: Saturday, September 24th

Start Location: Foxboro, MA

If you have questions or need help registering, contact our Big Sister Team Captain, Cassie Brown at

Rodman Ride 2007

Rodman Ride 2009

Big Sister Board Members Max Bardeen and Tim O'Brien

Roadman Ride high five

Match Highlight: A Father’s Perspective

Father Daniel Collins Speaks about His Daughter Aoife’s Friendship with Big Sister Leigh

Little Sister Aoife and Big Sister Leigh Doherty

Appassionata, enlightened, and revealing: the three words Daniel Collins uses to describe his daughter Aiofe, her Big Sister Leigh Doherty, and their relationship.

When Aoife (pronounced “ee-fa”) first started kindergarten after moving to Boston from New York with her father, Daniel Collins, she knew there was something different about her family. She was one of the few children in her class in a single-parent household and perhaps the only child who did not live with her mother.

Seeing the impact this was having on his daughter, Daniel reached out to Big Sister in 2009. While he had been co-parenting Aoife with a close friend, Amelia Stiles, he recognized that his daughter yearned for additional female influences in her life. In wanting a Big Sister for his daughter, he wasn’t looking for a replacement for her mother, who currently resides in Augusta, Maine. Rather he wanted to expand the network of adults who could help guide her through childhood.

Daniel, an only child himself, thinks back to his youth surrounded by his father’s large family in western Massachusetts. He remembers his Uncle Jimmy Collins who had been a major influence on him, with much fondness. “It’s one of those things that you carry with you for the rest of your life.” He wanted his daughter to enjoy and benefit from this type of relationship with a caring adult. Big Sister Leigh Doherty, who Daniel describes as “enlightened,” has certainly fit the bill.

“Leigh fills a role that no one else in our circle could,” says Daniel. Her relationship with his daughter is very different from those Aoife has with him, Amelia and Aoife’s mother. Leigh is more like a “favorite aunt,” which is exactly what he was looking for.

Daniel admits that two years ago there had been several rocky moments for his non-traditional family. He is grateful for the ways in which Leigh acted as ballast for Aoife through those tough times.

“It would be difficult to overstate how important it was for Aoife to have a friend like Leigh to whom she could talk during those stressful days. I suppose that every family goes through such occasional periods of uncertainty. But for a child in that situation, having one reliable friend providing emotional continuity and stability … can make all the difference between “one of those unpleasant things we all have to go through” and “a full-blown emotional disaster.” Leigh’s handling of the situation as it developed was careful, effective and, most importantly, always directed at Aoife’s best interests… So three cheers for Leigh.”

In the two years since they’ve been matched, Leigh has helped reveal the qualities and strengths that he knew his daughter had in her, but wasn’t sure would get the chance to emerge. When asked to describe Aoife, Daniel chose appassionata, an Italian word, because “an English word just won’t do” to sum her up. “She’s a very warm-hearted person” he says. “She has the soul of an artist.”

He notes that she is very perceptive to the feelings and motivations of others, a talent that she has started to channel into theater. At 11, he’s seeing that she is really starting to come into her own. As he watches her confidence bloom, Daniel credits Leigh with helping foster these positive changes.

“My daughter is my hope for the future, my reason for getting up in the morning… so it’s wonderful to see.”

* Happy Father’s Day to Daniel and all the fathers in Big Sister’s Community.

Big Sister and Big Brother Share Wedding Day with Little Sister and Little Brother of Honor

Bride Leslie Parker and Groom Jon Sproul share their nuptial joy with Little Sister Aleysia and Little Brother Bryant .

For many couples who are about to tie the knot, the toughest part of planning their wedding is deciding who to invite.  For Leslee Parker, 29, a Big Sister with Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, and Jon Sproul, 33, a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay, there were two guests who had to be there to make their special day complete.

Leslee asked her Little Sister 13-year old Aleysia of Cambridge to be her “Sister of Honor” and Jon asked his Little Brother 17-year old Bryant of Dorchester to be his “Brother of Honor” in their wedding which occurred Saturday May 21, 2011 at St. Thomas Chapel in Falmouth Heights.

“Once we decided we wanted to be married, we decided we wanted them in the wedding,” Jon said last week. “They’re such an important part of our lives, like family.”

Bryant and Aleysia walked down the aisle with bridesmaids and groomsmen as part of the ceremony, joined the wedding party for pictures and were announced into the wedding reception at the Falmouth Yacht Club as “the Little Brother of Honor and the Little Sister of Honor.”

The couple, originally from Barnstable but now living in the North End, has been serving as mentors to their Littles for a combined ten years.  Jon, who works for Boston Public Schools, was first matched with Bryant, now a senior at Monument High School, in November 2005.  Seeing her then boyfriend’s relationship with Bryant, Leslee was inspired to become a Big Sister where she could provide nurturing guidance and support to a young girl.  She was matched with Aleysia, an 8th grade student at the Martin Luther King School, in January 2007.

When asked about her match experience in 2008, Leslee remarked that it defied all her original expectations and that she looked forward to her friendship with Aleysia “growing for years to come”.  Indeed it has as Aleysia joined the bride and her bridesmaids as they rode to the chapel in their limousine on the day of the ceremony.

Deborah Re, CEO of Big Sister Association, notes that such stories of Littles being part of their Bigs’ wedding are fairly common.

“The bonds that develop between “Bigs” and “Littles” tend to move quickly into strong, long-lasting friendships.  With matches that span years like Leslee and Jon’s, Bigs get to watch their Littles grow up and often become like family.”

According to Wendy Foster, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay, this is the first wedding she knows of where both the bride’s and groom’s “Littles” are participating.

* Congratulations to Big Sister Leslee and Little Sister Aleysia who also just celebrated their 4th match anniversary.

Free Fun Fridays courtesy of Highland Street Foundation

Click here to download and print the 2011 Free Fun Fridays Calendar

One of Big Sister’s major funders, the Highland Street Foundation, sponsors Free Fun Fridays, a series where Massachusetts residents and tourists get to visit designated cultural attractions all around Boston for free on Fridays throughout the summer. The calendar of dates and locations is listed below. Follow the Highland Street Foundation  on twitter @HighlandStreet .

July 1

465 Huntington Ave – Boston
425 Hawthorn Street – New Bedford
8 Strawberry Lane – Yarmouth Port
67 Grove Street – Sandwich

July 8

137 Warren Ave – Plymouth
55 Salisbury St. – Worcester
60 Hope Lane – Dennis
101 Newbury Street – Boston

July 15

1 Science Park – Boston
100 Barber Avenue #11 – Worcester
177 Main Street – Acton
180 Hemenway Road – Framingham

July 22

1 Franklin Park Rd – Dorchester
TD Garden – 100 Legends Way – Boston
9 Route 183 – Stockbridge
161 Essex Street – Salem

July 29

308 Congress St – Boston
491 Dutton Street – Lowell
18 Johnny Cake Hill – New Bedford
Boston Common – Boston

August 5

101 Northern Ave – Boston
577 Great Neck Road South – Boston
21 Edwards Street – Springfield
53 Cambridge Turnpike – Concord

August 12

Columbia Point – Boston
125 Arborway – Jamaica Plain
297 West Street – Lenox
149 Pond Street – Stoneham

August 19

Free ferry transportation to the islands
408 Atlantic Ave – Boston
9 Sullivan Avenue – Easton
22 Charlestown Navy Yard – Charlestown
1000 West Columbus Avenue – Springfield

August 26

1 Old Sturbridge Village Road – Sturbridge
321 Arsenal Street – Watertown
39 South Street – Pittsfield
222 Harrington Way – Worcester

*Free Fun Fridays 2011 Special Instructions

Shakespeare on the Common (July 29, 2011)

This is an open-air, evening (8 pm) performance on the Boston Common, with no seating structure.  This year the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company presents the comedy All’s Well That Ends Well—Shakespeare’s globe-trotting adventure story of how far one woman will go to win the heart of her beloved.

Tanglewood (August 12, 2011)

This is an open-air evening performance on the Tanglewood grounds (located in Berkshire County of western Massachusetts, just a short drive from the Massachusetts State Turnpike).  All lawn tickets are free (14,000 capacity).  A prelude concert starts at 6 pm, followed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra at 8:30 pm.

Boston Harbor Islands (August 19, 2011)

This is a free ferry ride to either (or both) of the two most popular Boston Harbor Islands – Georges Island (with historic Fort Warren and ranger-guided tours) and Spectacle Island (with a life-guard supervised beach and 5 miles of hiking trails).

Free tickets for the Harbor Islands Express Ferry will be distributed first come, first served at Long Wharf-North in downtown Boston (near the Aquarium subway station), with lines forming at 6:30 am.  The ferry leaves every 30 minutes starting at 8:30 am, with a 3 hour window to return.  Each person in line may pick up a maximum of 4 tickets.  (There will be no special arrangements for groups of more than 4 to be on the same ferry.)  Tickets will be handed out for the earliest ferry, then the next, and so on, until all ferry seats for the day are distributed – last year, all tickets were distributed by 10:30 am.

New Repertory Theater (August 26, 2011)

This is an evening (6 pm) performance of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the Charles Mosesian Theater in the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown.

Fun things to do with your Little Sister (June Edition)

Dragon Boat by Flickr User Cardamom. Bring your Little Sister to the
Dragon Boat Festival  in Cambridge on Saturday, June 11 or Sunday, June12.

Trail Work

Milton, MA
Saturday, June 4, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Bring your Little Sister to this great community service project! Join the friends of the Blue Hills to lend a hand on the trails to make them perfect for hikers and bikers! Tools and lunch will be provided. Please wear work clothes and sturdy footgear. Bring water, sunscreen, bug spray, and work gloves. This event is open to the public and is for Little Sisters ages 15-20. Please meet at the Houghton’s Pond main parking lot at 840 Hillside Street, Milton, MA. For more information about this event please see

Farmer’s Market

Rosindale, MA
Saturday, June 4, 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Bring your Little Sister to one of the largest farmer’s markets in Boston! There will be children’s activities and entertainment at 10:00 a.m. and live music at 11:00 a.m. Six farms and many vendors will be selling locally made or grown produce, baked goods, sauces, handmade soaps and more! This event is free and open to the public and is for Little Sisters of all ages. This event is located at Adams Park, Rosindale Village, 6 Cummins Highway, Rosindale, MA 02131. Please call (617) 327-4065 for more information about this event.

River Festival

Cambridge, MA
Saturday, June 4, 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

The Cambridge River Festival is a great way to celebrate the arts with your Little Sister! Experience a wide array of Cambrige-based visual and performing arts. There will be multiple stages with world music, hands-on art making activities, and a large assortment of specialty foods. This event is free and open to the public and is for Little Sisters of all ages. The event will take place on a mile-long stretch of Memorial Drive between JFK Street and Western Ave.Please call (617) 349-4380 for more information about this event.

Game Night with Pizza

Dorchester, MA
Monday, June 6, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Bring your Little Sister for some friendly competition with your favorite board games or partner with her to play against other children or teens! The library will provide pizza for everyone that attends. This event is free and open to the public and is for Little Sisters of all ages. This event is located at the Adams Street Branch of the Boston Public Library, 690 Adams St, Dorchester, MA 02122. Please visit for more information about this event.

Dragon Boat Festival

Cambridge, MA
Saturday, June 11, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 12, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Enjoy the sport, history, and culture of Chinese Dragon Boat Racing with your Little Sister! Races will be on both Saturday and Sunday, and there will be festivals including arts, crafts, food, music, and martial arts demonstrations! This event is free and open to the public and is for Little Sisters of all ages. This event located on Western Avenue Bridge, Cambridge, MA. Please call (617) 426-6500 for more information about this event.

Fitness Event

Mattapan, MA
Saturday, June 11, 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Get moving with your Little Sister! Join the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition for a free fitness event. There will be yoga, healthy snacks, music, and fun activities! Wear gym clothes and comfortable footgear! Learn some great fitness habits while having fun! This event is free and open to the public and is for Little Sisters of all ages. This event will be located at the Walker Playground on Norfolk Street adjacent to the Mildred Ave. Community Center in Mattapan, MA.

Please visit for more information about this event.

Kids Bike Ride

Medford, MA
Saturday, June 18, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Bring your Little Sister to enjoy the excitement and fitness benefits that come from riding bikes! Riders must have a bike, properly fitting helmet, and water for the ride. Snacks will be provided. This event is free and open to the public and is for Little Sisters of all ages. Please RSVP for this event with Adam at (781) 354-7845. If you do not have a bike or helmet, please call Adam as they may be able to accommodate you. Meet at Flynn Rink Lot, 370 Elm St, Medford, MA.

Annual Arts Fest

Beverly, MA
Saturday, June 18, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Bring your Little Sister to a fun street festival! Downtown Beverly hosts more than 100 artists, 12 open studios, food vendors, and free live entertainment. This event is free and open to the public and is for Little Sisters of all ages. This event is located on Cabot Street, Beverly, MA. Please call (978) 922-8558 for more information about this event.

Fly Fishing Clinic

Concord, MA
Saturday, June 25, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Learn a fun new skill with your Little Sister! Trout Unlimited will hold a fly fishing demonstration and workshop providing instruction and fishing gear. Bring footwear that can get wet. This event is free and open to the public and is for Little Sisters age 10 and up. Space is limited so please pre-register by calling (978) 369-3254. This event is located at the main beach of Walden Pond State Reservation in Concord, MA.

Kids Olympic Day

Hyde Park, MA
Saturday, June 25, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Bring your Little Sister and join DCR Rangers and the Hyde Park YMCA to support fitness and well being in the community! They will celebrate the Olympic ideals of fair play, respect, and perseverance while having fun! There will be races and tests of athletic skill. This event is free and open to the public and is for Little Sisters age 7-12. Meet at the Kelley Field at Stony Brook Reservation in Hyde Park. Please call (617) 698-1802 ext. 213 for more information about this event.