May 5, 2021
I grew up in Ohio and moved to Maine 6 years ago. My sisters both have children and I’ve always enjoyed my time with my niece and nephews. When I moved away, my week-long visits with them became more challenging and I craved the interactions with them. To try and fill the void, I sought out opportunities for mentorship and enrichment. I remembered the incredible experiences I had being involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters in high school, so I reached out to explore opportunities with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine.
For over two years now, I’ve been a Big. When I was paired with my current Little, her health concerns posed some challenges for the types of activities we could do together. One of those challenges is loud noises. When I thought of attending live sporting events together or catching a movie in the theater at the beginning of the relationship, there was a lot of adjusting the types of things I’d hoped to do to meet our needs. We know each other well enough now to know how to decipher our likes and dislikes.
Volunteering for the Animal Refuge League is one of my passions, and in sharing that with my Little, I learned that she had a love for animals too. We’ve spent time at the ARL with the animals and we can’t pass a pet store when we’re together without making a detour to stop in and check things out. When our in person time was limited during covid, we got creative with our animal visits and attended virtual events held by the Cincinnati and Columbus zoos.
Since covid derailed a lot of our plans for 2020, when we were able to safely get together in person, my Little’s parents set-up an outdoor theater for us. We ordered pizza, enjoyed popcorn and lemonade and watched a movie at our own backyard theater. It was so special to be together again after so much time apart.
The commitment is what you make it. Sometimes we’re together for hours and sometimes we’re together for shorter spurts, but when we’re spending time together the value of that doesn’t change. It means so much to me that you make the volunteering experience what you want, and for me, I get so much more than I give.
- Noel Neptune, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine Volunteer