Skip to main content
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Writing
SFU Student

Picture of Big Sister and Little Sister blowing on dandelions
I was fortunate to have an amazing case worker who made sure to check in with me regularly and was very understanding of my busy schedule.

The decision to be a Big Sister can be a daunting one. On the one hand, being a Big Sister can lead to great potential benefit for the youth, but on the other hand, perhaps you’re worried if you would make a great Big Sister. Having been a Big Sister for over 5 years, I thought I’d share my experiences to provide insight during this decision making process, and help alleviate some of the anxiety from not knowing what is expected from Big Sister volunteers.

All Good Things Come with Time

As a Big Sister you are a role model and a mentor. However, most importantly, you are developing a relationship with a young girl. Like any relationship, developing trust takes time. As a result, it is important to keep this in mind each time you meet with your Little Sister. Depending on your match, some Little Sisters take more time than others to develop a relationship where they feel comfortable and safe. This is not a reflection on you. Give her time. At the end of it you will see her growth and progress.

Be Perceptive

A few months have passed by, you’re patient but you’re beginning to wonder if you’ve made an impact. To find your answer you will have to look for it. Be observant and listen. The smallest changes may have been overlooked and come to you later on. Be open to these moments. They will help you recognize the changes in your Little Sister, and you will be able to recognize her continuous progress and growth.

Keep an Open Mind

You’ve been patient, and you’ve been perceptive. You’re starting to develop that much needed trust with your Little Sister. Finally, she decides to open up to you. While most of these moments are to be shared with happiness, gasps, and awe, there may be times where she will ask you questions or share experiences that you are uncomfortable with. It is natural to feel protective. However, it is important to remain calm and listen. It is important for your Little Sister to know that she can share things with you without fear of being judged, or made to feel uncomfortable. Give her time to share her experience, and ensure that she knows she can come to you for support. If ever in doubt, reach out to your assigned case worker. The case workers at Big Sisters conduct regular check-ins and are there to help guide you when needed. I was fortunate to have an amazing case worker who made sure to check in with me regularly and was very understanding of my busy schedule.

At the end of the day it is a hard decision to make. However, should you choose to be a Big Sister, it is one of the few volunteer opportunities available that allows you to connect with others in a way that allows you to directly see the impact you’ve had on another person.

SFU Student
Evelyn Chen is a Master’s candidate who took a bit of a detour and landed in writing. In between writing and satisfying her creative juices at photo shoots (as a makeup artist while dabbling in styling and art direction), she can be found scouting cafes drinking ridiculous amounts of coffee. 

You Might Like These... Volunteering, Sustainability

Iceberg Melting
What’s Your Cause? Polar Regions, Climate Change, Cultural Awareness, New Immigrant

Over the course of the past semester, SFU Volunteer Services set out to learn what causes motivate SFU students to get involved in their communities–either on campus or beyond. We collected information through the ENGAGE blog and want to highlight some now in hopes of inspiring others to think about what their cause is and how they can contribute!

Children playing hopscotch
An SFU student perspective on the Big Sisters Study Buddy program

You may have heard of them–you may even have an idea of what they do. But have you ever thought of being one? Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland has been serving girls in one-to-one mentoring relationships since 1960, with the mission of “enhancing the confidence, self-esteem and well-being of girls through supportive friendships with caring women”. Each Big and Little Sister match gets together once a week for at least one year. 

Mubnii smiling with her hands in an open position, in front of an aquarium
Health Sciences Student Profile: Mubnii Morshed

Heath Sciences offer students one of the most comprehensive and diverse programs, focusing on everything from epidemiology, molecular biology to political science anthropology. These days, there are many volunteer opportunities associated with the Health Sciences.

You Might Like These... Indigenous Employers

UNYA logo
Urban Native Youth Association

The Urban Native Youth Association works to provide meaningful opportunities for Native Youth. With almost 100 staff working within 21 programs they are always looking for talented and dynamic people to join the team. Find out more.

a man standing up giving a speech and asking questions
The Best Question You Can Ask

"How did you get to be where you are?" It's such a delectable question. Dave thinks that's because it's an invitation to tell a story, and we inherently love stories. It's also a tiny risk, as the person so questioned might decline the invitation. Here is Dave's story navigating, understanding and exploring this question. 

There is a title "Working in the Non-Profit Sector". At the bottom left cornerof the image, there is a logo for SFU Work Integrated Learning.  Volunteer Services and Career Services are located at the bottom right corner.
Working in the Non-Profit Sector Panel: A Rewarding Career Path?

2010 EVENT RECAP: How do you acquire a successful and rewarding career? For five professionals, it was working for community organizations in the non-profit sector. The non-profit sector gave them the opportunity to contribute their professional skills, experiences and passions to advance their career while making a positive difference in their communities. Recently, they sat down with SFU students and shared their personal stories and journey to their current positions.