National Mentoring Month - Kami's Story

Kami walking to school

Big Sister Carrie and Little Sister Kami are one of Big Brother Big Sister's new er matches and have been matched since January 2023. Kami was introduced to Big Brothers Big Sisters Comprehensive Mentoring Program through a partnership with the Prison Fellowship. She lives with her grandma and five of her siblings and cousins. Her grandma values giving her opportunities that do not attach her to the stigma of having an incarcerated parent.Grandmother quote

Kami struggled with attendance last school year because of suspensions from fighting. Even though Kami was passed to the next grade, her suspensions caused her grades to suffer. Kami was able to "regroup" after being matched with Carrie, and she met all of the benchmarks in her subjects by the end of the school year in 2023. Her grandma believes Carrie has been a good role model to help her focus more on school rather than drama with her peers. Kami's grandma explained to Big Brothers Big Sisters, "Kami has always been a good kid. It's been great seeing Kami have a young woman that is in college to look up to." She knows that Kami is taking note of Carrie's decisions and life path and that will help Kami as she grows and matures.

Throughout their mentoring relationship, Carrie has modeled consistency and dependability to Kami, as well as provide Kami with new opportunities. They love to do art together! They especially enjoy signing up for art activities hosted by the Springfield Art Association for Big Brothers Big Sisters matches. Each of these unique opportunities have furthered Kami's interest in art and moves her one step closer to her dream of becoming an artist.

United Way focuses on outcomes of programs like the Comprehensive Mentoring program. With their United Way grant funding, Big Brothers Big Sisters is able to help children meet academic milestones on time. For Kami, her social-emotional development has greatly improved since starting the program. Kami will be entering 8th grade soon, and this program will help her meet the goal of successfully transitioning to high school and developing a plan for success after high school. These overall goals and benchmarks are why United Way prioritizes education and creating opportunities for our youngest individuals.