What if the best gift of all isn’t giving a present, it’s being present for each other? That’s what Big Sister Melissa and Little Sister Jasmine discovered four years ago when they were matched shortly after their respective July birthdays.
Before being matched with her Big Sister, Jasmine--an only child who was nine years old at the time--had three wishes: to have a lot of toys, to eat gummies every day, and to have brothers and sisters. Little did Jasmine know that when she blew out the candles on her birthday, one of those wishes would soon come true. For Jasmine and her Big Sister Melissa, close birthdays soon turned into a close-knit relationship, generating countless memories, lessons, and shared experiences.
As the pair have discovered over the course of their friendship, the best gifts are the ones that cannot be found in the store:
Big Sister Melissa & Little Sister Jasmine’s BIG Gift Guide:
- Giving Back– Besides a shared birthday week, Melissa and Jasmine share a passion for helping others. “We've done things like volunteer at a cafe to prepare food for the community, make scarves for those less fortunate, and pick up trash to ‘beautify’ our community,” said Melissa. As a young girl still building her confidence, these are activities that Jasmine might have never become involved in without Melissa’s support. “She’s a kind girl with a huge heart,” Melissa said of Jasmine. Having a mentor in her life helped Jasmine to embrace that and find outlets for giving back.
- A Role Model – “Melissa always goes out of her way to help me,” said Jasmine. Since being matched, Melissa has made it a point to be a constant presence in Jasmine’s life, regardless of schedule. She has modelled for Jasmine the power of being there for others, and Jasmine has taken Melissa’s influence to heart, becoming a role model herself. “Once when we were out, two younger girls began screaming Jasmine’s name and ran up to hug her,” said Melissa. As it turned out, Jasmine had befriended the two girls on her school bus, and helped them in getting on and off the bus during their daily commute “The girls' mom came up after and thanked Jasmine for being such a help to her daughters,” said Melissa. “I beamed and felt lucky to have a thoughtful friend by my side.”
- Friendship – Sometimes, the best thing you can give someone is a safe space, and shoulder to lean on. “I’ve never felt like I’ve had to hide myself with Jasmine, and I know she feels like she can be her true self with me.” Melissa and Jasmine don’t always have a structured activity planned, but they really don’t need to. The pair “always has something to gab about,” and being in each other’s company is more than enough to bring a smile to their faces, especially for Jasmine who knows that she has a mentor and confidant to turn to whenever she needs one.
- Sisterhood – “Friendship doesn’t have to stay friendship,” said Jasmine. “It can go into something bigger.” When Melissa and Jasmine were matched in 2013, they were excited to have another friend in their life. They didn’t yet know that their relationship would grow into something much greater. “We’re both only children,” said Melissa. “It’s been a gift feeling close to her like the little sibling I always yearned for growing up, and I’ve grown within myself by having Jasmine’s positive force in my life.” As Melissa and Jasmine have shown, you don’t need to be of blood relation to give someone the gift of Sisterhood, simply being present will do the trick.
The best part about the gifts listed above is that you don’t need an occasion to give them. Take it from Melissa and Jasmine – it’s never a bad time to give someone the gift of being wholeheartedly present in their life.