Big Sister Elle, Little Sister Thelma, and Ellie’s partner Tom
When seven-year-old Little Sister Thelma first met Big Sister Elle, she exclaimed: “Mama says you’re going to be my new friend!” What she didn’t realize was that Big Sister Elle would become a friend, mentor, and champion for life.
Nearly 20 years after that first meeting, Big Sister Elle stood proudly by Thelma’s side as her Little Sister realized her dream of graduating from the Police Academy and becoming a Boston Police officer. It all started with a very special phone call…
Though you could say it was a series of phone calls that set the wheels in motion for Little Sister Thelma’s path to success. When Thelma was four years old, her mother was badly injured in a car accident that left her paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Less than two years later, Thelma’s parents divorced. Thelma longed for someone to simply take her outside and play with her, but her mother was unable to do anything with an energetic child. That’s when a social worker told her about Big Sister Boston. Thelma’s mother called us and requested a Big Sister for her daughter. And that’s when we matched her with Big Sister Elle.
After 15 years as Big and Little Sister in our program, it was time for Thelma and Elle to graduate. As one of our longest match relationships, we arranged for a special celebration for the two at our office along with their Match Support Specialist, Helen Fullerton, who had been with them for the duration of their relationship. Knowing that Thelma was interested in pursuing a career with the Boston Police Department, we reached into our network and secured a surprise phone call from our BPD partner, then-superintendent of the Boston Police Academy, Lisa Holmes. Thelma was shocked to receive the call! “Superintendent Lisa Holmes is a very strong woman, and I look up to her,” Thelma said after receiving the call. “That call was the very thing I needed to push myself and become a Boston Police Cadet today.”
This past June, Thelma graduated from the Police Academy and is now an officer in the Hyde Park district. “I want to help my community, my city, and my neighborhood. I want young people to know it is possible to follow your dreams. I want to give my son a better life and be able to pay for his education,” said Thelma, who credits her Big Sister with supporting her dreams. “If it wasn’t for Elle, I might be on a different route today.”