In 2017, we matched Little Sister Valeria with her Big Sister Elizabeth. Over the years, Valeria has become increasingly involved with our organization, joining the Our Big Futures (OBF) program, sitting on our Junior Advisory Board—which provides leadership opportunities and stipend for Little Sisters and teen Big Sisters–and now as our Summer Intern! Get to know more about Valeria, in her own words, in the interview below.
What did you think when you found out you were being matched with a Big Sister?
I felt excited. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the thought of being able to have support from someone else was so new to me.
What were your first impressions of your Big Sister? What about now?
I’ve been matched with Elizabeth for four years now! I was very nervous about having a new person in my life, but the idea of having someone to try activities with and generally get to share exciting things that happen in my personal life was a new thing for me. Everything I hoped for in a Big Sister I got to experience and share with her, which I’m very grateful for. Through getting to know each other we found that we had in common our love for horses. I grew up always wishing I could ride one and since my Big Sister had a horse I was able to do that!
You’re very involved with our organization. What made you want to deepen your relationship with us?
Big Sister Boston works to empower and support Little Sisters. Working with an organization that is inclusive and supportive is truly so important to me, and Big Sister holds these values so highly. I knew deepening my partnership with Big Sister was the right decision because it gave me a place to provide a new perspective. Through the Junior Advisory Board there have been so many amazing girls I’ve gotten the chance to meet and work with.
What kinds of activities does your internship involve?
As the Our Big Futures Intern, I assist Wanda [Coordinator of Our Big Futures] with preparing our workshops and events for other Little Sisters. I’ve had the opportunity to network with our partners, such as Invest in Girls and Fidelity Investments. I provide my feedback on our social media and marketing materials for the workshops. I also get to learn about and connect with different departments at Big Sister.
What do you most enjoy about being a Little Sister? About being on the Junior Advisory Board?
Throughout being matched I have most enjoyed learning and trying new things, whether that relates to my and Elizabeth’s lives or is just for fun. As for my role on the Junior Advisory Board, I work on sharing new perspectives with the Little Sisters and the organization as someone who is disabled and a Latina, I have learned to advocate for myself and others who look like me.
What are your future aspirations for education and/or a career?
My future aspirations for myself would be to further my education so I can have a career in child development or as a child life specialist. I personally want to go into these fields because I want to provide that support and that sense of acknowledgment to people who have to go through what I have gone through with my disability.
What does Big Sister Boston mean to you?
Big Sister Boston is a space where inclusivity and determination are values we heavily work on and that our work thrives on. Through hearing stories about themselves and their work from staff, I’ve gotten different views on things I have never even thought about.
What do you want people to know about girls growing up in Boston today?
Just because we come from certain backgrounds does not make us any less educated or incapable. We have our voices and goals, and we want to be heard.