Special to the Journal
Lynn resident, Lauren Hall, has been named the 2019 Big Sister of the Year by Big Sister Association of Greater Boston. Hall has been matched with her Little Sister Courtney since 2012. Courtney, 17, lives with her grandmother, Kathleen, in Billerica. “Lauren has been her refuge,” said Kathleen of Courtney’s relationship with her Big Sister. “I’ve seen this joy coming back to her.”
Hall was chosen from among more than 2,000 Big Sisters as a standout volunteer because of the longevity and impact of her relationship with Courtney, engagement with the professional support provided by Big Sister Boston’s staff, and participation in Big Sister Boston-sponsored events.
“Lauren’s ability to build a caring, supportive mentoring relationship with Court over the past seven years is a model of what we hope for all our Big and Little Sister relationships,” said Deb Re, Big Sister Boston’s President & CEO. “She has thoughtfully leveraged the resources provided by our organization, and created opportunities for Court to develop her passions and confidence.
Hall said that her impetus for becoming a Big Sister was to get more involved in her community in a long-term, invested way. She says her relationship with Courtney has evolved from one with a young girl that was more activity-based, to one with a young woman, that is based on a deeper connection that is focused on the future. Courtney says that they plan to be “sisters for life.”
The average length of relationships between Big and Little Sisters who are part of the Big Sister Boston program is nearly three years, exceeding the national minimum commitment of 12 months. Last year, 93 percent of Little Sisters reported an increased feeling of social acceptance, which is a leading indicator of confidence development, and 91 percent reported improved educational expectations, such as graduating high school and enrolling in post-secondary education.
Big Sister Association of Greater Boston ignites girls’ passion and power to succeed through positive mentoring relationships with women and enrichment programs that support girls’ healthy development. Since 1951 Big Sister Boston has focused on meeting the unique needs of girls by providing them with the guidance, care, and support of a Big Sister. Today, the organization serves nearly 5,000 women and girls annually through professionally supported, one-to-one mentoring relationships and enrichment activities that address the social-emotional development of girls age 7-20. Using research-based best practices that employ a gender-intentional lens, Little Sisters served by Big Sister Boston experience lasting and profound positive outcomes in academic achievement, interpersonal relationships, and the ability to avoid risky behaviors.