In the new year, many of us likely have resolutions on our minds. Perhaps one of them is to disconnect more from technology—put down the phone, take a break from scrolling the Instagram feed, and resist the urge to check email for a few hours—while nurturing more face-to-face connections. At the beginning of 2016, Big Sister Courtney was happy in her career and her newly adopted city of Boston. She felt like she had stability in her life, but being fully present was more of a challenge. Then, Courtney saw the Big Sister table at a volunteer fair.
Matched with Little Sister Keilyn in September 2016, Courtney soon learned the art of being in the moment. “When we’re together, it’s a nice reminder to put away my phone and hear about how she has been since we last saw each other.” Putting away the phone might seem like a trivial action, but Keilyn notices.
“She’s always there for me,” said Keilyn. “I talk, she listens and responds.” Keilyn truly appreciates Courtney’s effort to be present in every moment the two have shared together, saying that it’s taught her that it’s okay to “be yourself and be a little weird.”
From window shopping on Newbury Street, to trying yoga classes, Courtney and Keilyn are constantly on the move. “She’s always down for an adventure or trying something new!” said Courtney of Keilyn. This trait came in handy when the pair decided to hike Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire.
Though it was difficult in the moment, both Courtney and Keilyn agree that this excursion is one of their favorite memories together. “My roommate had told me that the hike was ‘beginner level’ when I asked what he might suggest for a 14-year-old who never really hikes. It was definitely more difficult than we expected, and we only had a little water to share and didn’t pack any snacks.” said Courtney.
Despite the challenges the two faced, Keilyn reflects on the memory as “a really good time,” largely thanks to Courtney being present for her. Through Courtney’s support, Keilyn was motivated to stretch above and beyond the “beginner level” to reach the peak of the mountain. “The views were worth it at the top!” said Courtney.
The best part about Courtney and Keilyn’s relationship is that it doesn’t take a mountainous obstacle to bring the pair together. Keilyn, an active student, deals with the day-to-day of balancing school work with basketball practice. She says that Courtney’s ability to simply be there for her has helped her to manage this stress, encouraging her to “reach the top” in every one of her activities.
While the New Year will undoubtedly bring more mountains to climb, Courtney and Keilyn know that having each other’s backs, no matter what the situation, will make 2018 another great year.