Like so many youth, Little Sister Joi,17, acutely felt the isolation, sadness, and sense of loss brought on by the pandemic. An only child, Joi had very little connection to others outside of her mom during this time.
She did, however, have a unique bond that helped her weather the trauma — her Big Sister Julie. Five years prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, Joi had been matched with Julie. Having a trusted adult in her life to provide guidance and support was what Joi’s mother had hoped for from the mentoring relationship, and it is exactly what Joi got from her Big Sister. While Joi has stated that Julie has always been there for her to provide a listening ear and social connection, this was especially true during the height of the pandemic when Joi struggled with sadness and loneliness. This connection has helped Joi thrive socially and academically, and to develop the confidence and resilience to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.
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