Author Archives: Big Sister Boston

Big Sister Recruitment Calendar: Week of March 28, 2011

Big Sister Events Calendar Week of March 28th, 2011

Monday, March 28th
SERV HR Open House11-1
10 Park Plaza 2nd Floor in Conference Room 1, 2 and 3

Outreach table at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences11:30-1:30
179 Longwood Ave.
Boston MA 02115

Recruitment table at Honan-Allston Branch Library4-6

Tuesday, March 29th
Women’s Network Breakfast
Ritz Carlton Boston Common

Wheelock College Campus, CCSR Multipurpose Room, 1st Floor12-2:30
150 The Riverway, Boston, MA 02215

Big Sister Fashion Show
Fairmont Copley Hotel

Wednesday, March 30th
Boston Scientific informational table

Liberty Mutual Mentoring Initiative
12- 1
Fairfield Conference Room

100 Women in Hedge Funds
Bingham McCutchen

Thursday, March 31st
Hyde Park Main Streets – Networking Breakfast
7:45 – 9:00 AM
Hyde Park Y.M.C.A
1137 River Street
Hyde Park, MA 02136

Friday, April 1st
Cambridge Healthworks Fitness Centers for WomenPorter Square Shopping Center
35 White Street, Cambridge 02140

Apply to become a Big Sister on our website at or call 617.236.8060.

Calling all Fashionistas: Come to a Fashion Show benefiting Big Sister Tues 03/29!

Denise Hajjar Fashion Show
to benefit Big Sister Association
of Greater Boston
Tired of winter layers? Excited for spring fashion? So are we!
Big Sister will be participating in an upcoming Fashion Show debuting the Spring Line from local designer Denise Hajjar!
Some familiar faces will grace the catwalk in Denise’s designs, including our own Shannon Felton and Bernice Osborne, Board member Jane Deery, Young Professional Board member Maria Fernandes, and more!
DATE: Tuesday, March 29, 2011
TIME: 6:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Denise Hajjar Boutique
Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel
138 St. James Ave.
Boston, MA 02116
Tickets are $50.
Click here to purchase online.
Make it a Girl’s Night Out!

Thank you to Denise Hajjar for supporting Big Sister’s work and mission!

Boston born and raised, Denise Hajjar inherited her design interest and talent from her grandmother who was also a designer in Damascus, Syria and her grandfather who was a patternmaker and dress factory owner from Beirut, Lebanon.After graduating from The School of Fashion Design, Denise decided to stay close to her Boston roots and start a business here. With almost 30 years in her own design business, Denise has established herself as a top designer, having sold her creations nationally to department stores, specialty boutiques, and individual clients worldwide.

Stay Connected Through Big Sister’s Alumnae Association!

Guest blogger Rachel Russell, Alumnae Association Board Member, talks about her experience with Big Sister Association and how to remain involved after being a Big or Little Sister. 

Big Sister Association of Greater Boston
If you have found yourself out of touch with Big Sister, there are so many ways to get back involved.  There are plenty of girls looking to be matched in both School and Community Based Mentoring.  Big for a Day always needs volunteers one Saturday per month, and we can always use YOUR help to recruit new Big Sisters.  No matter what situation you find yourself in, we hope that you will stop by our Alumnae events to say hello!  We love getting the opportunity to speak with such inspiring women.  Whether you’re a current Big, a former Big or a Little you’ll always have a place at Big Sister.
Five years ago I found myself moving to Boston, ready to begin a new chapter in my life, post college.  As a New Hampshire native, the thought of living in a city was new and exciting, but at the same time a little daunting.  I was eager to meet new people, begin my career and become active in my community. Although I was certain of my career goals, I wasn’t too sure how I wanted to get involved in my neighborhood.  After remembering a friend’s experience back in college being a Big Sister, I decided it would be a place to start.  I was matched with my little sister for three years before closing our match two years ago.  It was a wonderful experience and I’m so thankful I did it. 
I was probably out of touch with the Big Sister Association for a year when I got an email about an opportunity to join the Big Sister Alumnae Association Board.  I jumped at the chance to get reconnected with an organization I truly believed could make a difference in girls lives.  Serving as an Alumnae Board member allows me to participate in a new capacity.  As we begin our first year as a board, we have hopes to eventually hold quarterly events.  Our goal is to hold an annual appreciation event in January, a networking evening, a homecoming gathering in September and perhaps host a match or Big for a Day activity. We are all very excited to recruit Alums to assist us with these lofty goals!
Yours truly,

 Rachel Russell

Alumnae Association Board Member

To learn more about becoming involved with the Big Sister Alumnae Association contact Brenna Downing at or click here to join.

Stay connected through the Alumnae Association!

Exploring Art Outside Boston: Match Activity at the Decordova

deCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA

Guestblogger Big Sister Brenna Downing weighs in on her recent adventure out of the City for a match activity.

I’ve lived in Boston for almost four years, but I’m embarrassed to admit that I still haven’t explored a lot of the area’s landmarks and museums.  So I was excited when I heard about last month’s match activity at the deCordova Museum in Lincoln.

My Little Sister, Amaia, and I will have been matched for 2 years in June.  Like most 10-year-olds, she’s creative and imaginative, so I thought the Rachel Perry Welty exhibit at the deCordova would fascinate her.  I was also excited to do something outside of the city, since the vast majority of our time (together and separate) is spent in Boston.

The exhibit focused on making art out of the things we’re surrounded with in everyday life, so the theme was interesting and accessible to even the littlest Little Sisters.  There were large photographs where the artist was covered in things like twist ties, Styrofoam take-out containers, and price stickers.  Amaia especially liked the row of iPhones that showed constantly updating Facebook posts from a day that Welty updated her status every minute for the entire day!  It was a perfect exhibit for us to go to together – it was engaging, interactive, and made you think, without being stuffy.  

Amaia loves meeting other Little Sisters, so we go to a lot of Big Sister’s planned match activities.  When the group sat down for an art project after the exhibit, she bonded with another Little Sister over a shared love of dogs and got into a pretty opinionated debate over which was better – bacon or mac and cheese?  Hmm, tough call.

Before we had even left, Amaia was already planning her collection of twist ties and our next visit to the deCordova.

For more information on the deCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA please visit:

 For more information on how to volunteer visit us at or call 617.236.8060

Big Sister Recruitment Calendar: Week of February 21st, 2011


President’s Day
All day!

“This February holiday has become well-known for being a day in which many stores, especially car dealers, hold sales.” (Wikipedia) . Is this really what America has been reduced to? Rushing out to get the best deal on a new car? Instead of trying to get the best deal, take a moment to reflect on your life. Do you really need a new toy? Can your money and time be better spent elsewhere?

For more information on how to donate or volunteer at Big Sister Association visit us at or call us at 617.236.8060

Babson College Tennis Team Meeting Presentation
Tuesday, February 22nd from 4-5 p.m.
Webster Athletic Center at Babson College

Grove Hall Library
Wednesday, February 23rd from 3-5 p.m.

Hill Holiday Informational Session
Wednesday, February 23rd from 3-4 p.m.
53 State Street

Wonder Women of Boston Networking Event
Thursday, February 22nd from 6-8:30 p.m.
Antler Agency
181 South St
Boston, MA 02111

Looking for a Good Read? Big Sister Recommends

Big Sister Recommends

Chances are, you’re still spending most of your free time inside. While you’re waiting for the weather to get warmer, not why head to the library or check out Amazon for these titles about the power of mentoring:

Stand by Me: The Risks and Rewards of Mentoring Today’s Youth by Jean E. Rhodes.

From Booklist:

Rhodes, a psychology professor, examines the popularity of mentoring programs and their effectiveness in improving the prospects of disadvantaged youth. She particularly focuses on research involving the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America, the best-known youth-mentoring organization, showing that at-risk youth who are mentored through structured programs are more likely to succeed.

The Person Who Changed My Life: Prominent People Recall Their Mentors by Matilda Raffa Cuomo, Editor with foreword by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Amazon Description:

At some point in the odyssey of our lives, most of us have been affected by caring adults who made a difference: their advice, their guidance, their example led us to encounter the world. The Person Who Changed My Life is a collection of essays in which individuals who have distinguished themselves in their fields write about the men and women who served as their mentors. Among the contributors are Walter Cronkite, Larry King, Dr. Arthur Caliandro, Elie Wiesel, Marian Wright Edelman, Julia Child, Gloria Estefan, and Dina Merrill.

Because You Believed in Me: Mentors and Protégés Who Shaped Our World by Marcia McMullen and Patricia Miller.

From the Publisher:

Because You Believed in Me uses stories of real people—Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Claude Monet and Eugene Boudin, Ulysses S.Grant and Abraham Lincoln—to demonstrate the powerful benefits of mentoring. The relationships of these and other historical pairs are explored throughout this book to illuminate the inherent value of mentoring. What if Eugene Boudin had not encouraged Monet to paint in the out of doors? Could anyone else have inspired him to abandon studio painting and venture into the beauty of landscapes? As with this case, mentors open worlds of possibilities for their proteges. Even brilliant people need heroes.

Or check out a couple new books from the New York Times bestseller list that are focused on women and girls:

Read them already? Comment below and tell us what you think! What other books would you like to suggest for a good read?

“One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Big Sister Recruiting Calendar: Week of February 14th, 2011

Valentine’s Day

All day!

Follow the advice of advice columnist, Dear Abby:

Be a sweetheart and clean out your closets. Take any items you no longer wear (or can’t fit into) and donate them so someone else can enjoy them.**  Call your friends and say ‘I love you.’ Bring flowers to someone in a nursing home. Offer to run an errand for someone who doesn’t drive.

Donate blood; pay someone a compliment; listen to your teenager; pray for your friends; or invite a lonely acquaintance — male or female — to join you for lunch. Obey the traffic laws. Do something nice for someone anonymously. And, before the day is over, resolve to be a ‘sweetheart’ more often than just today.

** Big Brother Big Sister Foundation collects donations of gently used clothing and household items, sells them to thrift stores, and makes a profit which is then returned to local BBBS agencies. For more information or to schedule a pickup visit:

Recruitment session at Tremont Credit Union in Dorchester for Holland Elementary School
Tuesday, February 15th from 10-11 a.m.
180 Mt Vernon St.
Dorchester, MA (inside Boston Teacher’s Union)

Eastern Nazarene College
Wednesday, February 16th from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Wellesley Women in Science Job & Internship Fair
Wednesday, February 16th from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Tishman Commons, Lulu Wang Campus Center

Recruitment table at Huntington Ave YMCA
Wednesday, February 16th from 3-7 p.m.

Grove Hall Library
Wednesday, February 16th from 3-5 p.m.

Big Sister Association 60 Year Celebration!
Keynote speaker, Diane Patrick, First Lady of Massachusetts!
Thursday, February 17th from 6-8 p.m.
Artists for Humanity EpiCenter
100 West 2nd Street
Celebrating 60 Invite 

Check out where Big Sister will be this week!

Big Sister Events Calendar week of February 7th, 2011

Bunker Hill Community College Community Service and Internship Fair

Wednesday, February 9th from 9- 1:00 p.m.


Boston University Non-Profit Fair

Wednesday, February 9th from 3-7p.m.

Metcalf Ballroom of BU’s George Sherman Union

775 Commonwealth Avenue

We will be here with Big Brother! Be sure to bring any men you think would make great mentors!


ASPIRE Volunteer Open House

Wednesday, February 9th at 6:30 p.m.

Finale in Coolidge Corner

1306 Beacon Street

Brookline, MA 02446


On Your Feet Project Board Meeting

Wednesday, February 9th from 7-8p.m.

MIT (map)      


Diversity council meeting

Wednesday, February 9th from 6-8 p.m!/group.php?gid=123631872980


Women’s Network Breakfast, Boston Chamber

Thursday, February 10th from 7:30-9 a.m.

Fairmont Copley


Constellation Pharmaceuticals Cambridge

Thursday, February 10th from 11a.m.-12 p.m.

Grove Hall Library

Thursday, February 10th from 1-3 p.m.


Imparting a Legacy of Change – Women Working Together: Writing the Next Chapter of herSTORY

Friday, February 11th from 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Northeastern University Curry Student Center

Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley on the Power of Mentoring Girls

Guest blogger, Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, weighs in on the power of mentoring girls.

City Councilor Ayanna Pressley & her Little Sister Arianna

National Mentoring Month has come to a close.

But I’m not paying any attention to that.

For me, recruiting new Big Sisters and mentors is a year-round activity. The need is greater than ever. Shouldn’t our efforts reflect that urgency?

As Big Sisters, as witnesses to the power of mentoring, it is our responsibility to make recruiting mentors a year-round priority. We can speak firsthand about the impact we’ve had on our Littles Sister’s lives and the impact they have had on our lives. We understand potential mentors’ apprehensions about becoming a Big Sister because at some point we probably had those same questions and concerns.

I’ve launched ABC- Ayanna’s BIG Challenge, a year-long initiative to recruit Big Sisters and mentors for young people living in the Boston neighborhoods with the longest waiting lists for adult mentors. I attended a Big Sister Association event at the Bromley-Heath Housing Development last year and met parents whose daughters were Little Sister. Through joyful tears, these parents spoke about the impact the Big Sisters had on their daughters’ lives.

The Bromley-Heath parents I met were good people. They were working hard to provide for their families and give their children a better and brighter future. But these are difficult economic times and many of the parents were working multiple jobs. They worked long hours out of necessity, sacrificing precious time with their children in order to pay for the essentials. Knowing their daughters had Big Sisters gave these parents peace of mind that their little girls were getting the guidance, support and inspiration they needed to be successful and safe in their own lives.

Peace of mind is a powerful and precious thing for any parent. Let’s work in 2011 to ease more parents’ minds. Let’s commit ourselves to recruit more Big Sisters and mentors and make 2011 the year when there were no waiting lists.

We know the difference mentoring can make. We may have turned the page on January but we shouldn’t turn our backs on the girls and families in need of a Big Sister. Thank you.

Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Council Member

For more info on how to become a Big Sister–even just one day a month in the Big for a Day program–click here!

The “Little” things, by guest blogger Big Sister Jillena Furr

Jillena and Ja

Big Sister Association of Greater Boston is open to all girls, no matter their situation, and my Little Sister hadn’t really faced many hardships before we met.  Ja’Najia comes from a single-parent home, but for the most part, she is a very happy, smart and well-rounded young lady who lives in a loving and stable household.  Besides her mother, I don’t think Ja’Najia has had many older, strong females to look up to or relate to, and I feel I’ve been key in providing that for her.  The biggest benefit for me is knowing that I’m making a difference in at least one person’s life.  She is someone whom I sought out and chose to be in her life, someone who is not in my family, or circle of friends, but a young person who was once a stranger and now feels as close to me as family. To know that I’m actively teaching her life lessons and as a result, she will be a stronger, better person due to our relationship is rewarding in itself.  The best part is that doing this has not been a difficult journey and we’re just having fun!  I can only hope that she’s learned to be confident and caring, and that she values the person she is and the person she can become as she grows up.  In the two years since we were matched, I’ve already seen Ja’Najia transform from a bit of a shy tomboy into a confident pre-teen.  She’s learned leadership skills and she accepts all people, no matter what their background.  These are things I try to instill in her through our chats and activities.

Currently, our favorite activities include sleepovers, watching movies, and being outdoors.  We also love to swim.  Our activities haven’t changed too much over the past couple years, but I feel they will as she becomes a teenage.  We’ve said that we will remain friends, or “sisters” forever.  We’ve joked that when I get married and have kids, that she will be at the wedding, and will babysit my kids when my husband and I go out.  I honestly do see us always being in each other’s lives.  It is what I hope for.

It’s hard to imagine not knowing Ja’Najia before we met.  I became a Big Sister because I wanted to give back and participate in something that would help make someone else’s life better.  Never did I imagine that it would also make my life a lot more worthwhile.  That is the gift I receive every time we are together.

She is truly my “little sister” and I truly love her!