Get to know the staff behind the scenes at Big Sister Boston with our Staff Spotlight feature! Here we will meet Recruitment Specialist, Leah Tavares.
Growing up in Boston, Leah has always felt a strong connection with her Cape Verdean heritage, which she shares with about 4% of our City's residents. Her family spoke primarily Cape Verdean Creole at home until she was in elementary school. She cites the culture shock of entering the public school system, where her teachers and peers predominantly spoke English, as a formative moment.
Later on, as a student at Boston College, Leah began working on the development of the first Cape Verdean Creole-English dictionary, a marriage of language and culture that Leah says has helped her to reconnect with a part of her identity. Cape Verdean Creole has traditionally been an unwritten and unofficial language in her family's native Cabo Verde, off the coast of West Africa, where Portuguese is considered the official language. Her family's labor of love finally came to fruition when the dictionary was published this past February!
Leah's awareness of her own "difference" is what inspired her to work on the dictionary and drew her to a career at Big Sister Boston. Leah says she wants to help girls "take pride in and enjoy being different, and know that who you are is important because you're different." As a Recruitment Specialist, Leah most enjoys working with potential Little Sisters and their families. She finds ways to connect girls with their communities and with the women who can support them in better understanding their own identities. Leah's strong connection to her own Dorchester community and the opportunities for public speaking and advocacy that came from promoting her family's dictionary have prepared Leah to be an outspoken advocate for mentoring Boston's girls as well.