Single mother of three girls under the age of twelve, Jennifer, shares her experience with Big Brothers Big Sisters St.Catharines-Thorold & District and “how much it has positively impacted not only her life, but the lives of her girls as well”. Jennifer never thought that she would be in a situation where she would be a single mother of three girls after her “husband of 21 years walked out on her family after disguising a drug addiction and a hidden affair with her best friend”. That left her and her daughters “depressed, heartbroken and wondering what would happen as they “were in a state of survival”.

Jennifer explained that “the separation had not been easy on her daughters, and as a mother, there is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing your children in so much pain and not knowing what to do about it” which is why she “decided to give the agency a call”. Jennifer described her hope that her oldest daughter, “who was eleven at the time and was hurting the most to cope, find someone she could talk to, and spend quality one on one time that I couldn’t provide for any of my children” due to the fact that now all of the “household and financial responsibilities for four people laid on her shoulders” which left almost no time for her to bond with my children.

Jennifer’s daughter “met the most spectacular lady” and she noticed “an instant bond”. She expressed her gratitude for the volunteers as “they all have so much heart, and truly don’t understand the impact they make on these children, going through some struggle in their lives”. After seeing how much her oldest had benefited from having a Big Sister in her life Jennifer decided to try this with her younger two children, and soon enough all three of them had big sisters. She described her decision to call the agency to be “one of the best decisions I have made in my entire life”. She has “seen her girls blossom so much in the short few years they have known their “big sisters” and the impact on their lives is amazing, they are happier, healthier children and that mentality has carried over into their school work and day to day social lives”.

She describes how her “three little girls witnessed their mother lose her best friend who they treated like a second mom and watch her run off with their father.  It was making it difficult for them to see the good in people, especially women”. It was not easy to escape “the fearful, distrustful mentality that everyone would end up betraying their trust in the end, but their Big Sisters have brought new life to their eyes, they are more confident, and independent and much happier”.

Jennifer expressed her gratitude once again, as “not only have the mentors been amazing to my family, but the entire agency staff, especially our caseworker, who gave her oldest daughter the amazing opportunity to apply for a scholarship, which would take immense financial stress off of her, and help her achieve her aspirations without having to be held back by our financial situations”. The caseworker “was phenomenal and patient” and the agency is “a warm friendly atmosphere full of people who begin to feel like family to you”.

Jennifer wanted everyone to know that Big Brothers Big Sisters is seen as something that “only lower class children headed in bad direction” would benefit from. However, “Big Brothers Big Sisters is an amazing opportunity for any family going through a hard time in their life and want to give their children a positive and healthy outlet and escape from their home life for a few hours, regardless of financial situation”. The agency is made up of “truly amazing people who have made a huge difference in our community”.