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Sat, March 23

Couples Match makes Big impact

When they moved to Arizona, Bill and Betty wanted to spend time with each other – and still do volunteer work. They had seen how powerful the Big Brothers Big Sisters program was in the life of a child and were very committed to one-to-one mentoring. Their own children had grown up and moved away, they liked being around kids, and felt it is a fun way to give back to the community.

Bill and Betty were pleasantly surprised when they talked to the staff at Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters to learn of a new program called a couples or family match. This gave them an opportunity to mentor a child together – including that child in their everyday family activities, discussions and outings. They were also happy to learn that Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters welcomed retirees as Bigs.

They were matched with Heather when she was six years old, and enjoyed many activities with her. They played games, took trips, spent endless hours at Castle Golf, went to ball games, attended her soccer practices and games, went to movies, baked cookies and gingerbread houses and, in general, enjoyed each others' company.

According to Betty, "We had the privilege of watching Heather grow up and progress in school and life. She has made improvements in her grades, doesn't miss school, and is now preparing for college."

Recently, Heather's mother passed away. Because of the close relationship she had built with Bill and Betty during the 11 years of their match, she chose to move in with them. Now the three of them have been matched as a family to another Little Sister named Gina, who is six, the same age Heather was when she first came into Bill and Betty's life.

For the past six months, the three of them have spent a couple of hours each weekend with Gina, enjoying doing the same kinds of activities that they enjoyed with Heather. "The experience has had a great positive impact on Heather and has given her an opportunity to give back by becoming a role model and mentor," the Tripps explained.

Bill and Betty say that being Bigs has brought a lot of joy to their lives. They feel lucky to have been matched with Heather and now with Gina. They also say they are very impressed with Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters.

"The local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization is one of the best in the country," they say.

(For information about joining Big Brothers Big Sisters, call 778-5135.)

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