According to the Webster’s Dictionary the meaning of mentor is: a trusted counselor or guide. Many of our youths in Boston are in need of that trusted person. But where does one go to find this person? Look no further than Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.
Since 1951 the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston has been providing mentors and friends for local area girls. Each year they name several Big Sisters of the Year. This year Diane Ivey was chosen as a Big Sister of the Year. I was lucky enough to get to ask Diane some questions and pick her brain as to what makes a mentor.
GalTime: How long have you been a Big Sister? How old are you?
Diane: I have been a Big Sister for three years and I am 32 years old. I am also a former staff member at Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.
GalTime: What is your Little Sister’s name & how old is she?
Diane: My Little Sister’s name is Tiffany and she is 16 years old.
GalTime: How long have you been paired with her?
Diane: We have been matched for three years
GalTime: What made you decide to become a Big Sister?
Diane: I have worked in different mentoring organizations since 2000. I understand the impact that being a mentor can have on a young adult’s life and I wanted to give back to my community. As a former staff member of the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, I had first-hand knowledge of the amazing work that they are doing in the community. I thought it was only fitting that I became a Big Sister three years ago. I have had mentors in my life and I wanted to become one as well.
GalTime: What do you do when you aren’t being a Big Sister?
Diane: When I am not being a Big Sister, I am working on building my small business, Lady Dye Fiber Arts and Design, which is an eco-friendly fiber arts business that creates vibrant and colorful hand-painted yarns and accessories.
I also work at The Eliot School of Fine and Applied Arts as an instructor in the Fiber Arts Department teaching knitting and yarn dyeing. I am also their Special Projects Coordinator in which I plan all of their events. Also, I am working with the Director at the school to expand the Sewing and Fiber Arts Department. Amazing things are happening at the Eliot School. I was particularly happy the school held three workshops for Big Sister at the school with their matches in the areas of woodworking, drawing, and sewing.
When I am not working, I find joy in spending time with my knitting group friends, traveling, and I have recently taken up gardening.
GalTime: Where did you grow up?
Diane: Highland Park, IL and Conyers, GA
I grew up in two places. Both have had a great impact in my life so I claim two states as my home. I spent the first 14 years of my life growing up in Highland Park, IL and my high school (Conyers, GA) and college years were lived in Georgia. Two areas of the country with different environments that have helped me grow into the strong and confident woman that I am today.
GalTime: Did you have any siblings growing up?
Diane: I have five brothers and two sisters. I am the oldest sister. Growing up, it started out with my three older brothers and me. Then when I was 10 years old the next girl in the family was born. I truly am a Big Sister in my family as I am the oldest sister, niece, granddaughter, female cousin, etc. out of my immediate family.
GalTime: What type of activities do you do with your Little Sister?
Diane: Tiffany and I really enjoy going to the movies and hanging out at my house. My Little Sister and I were matched when she was 13 so doing activities that teenagers really enjoy doing have been exciting and fun for me. We also enjoy going to a coffee shop and talking about life. She is a theatre major so I truly enjoy going to see her perform in plays. She is a bright young woman and I am so proud of her.
GalTime: Do you think you have made a lifelong bond with your Little Sister?
Diane: Absolutely! I am excited to be there to support her through her application process to college. I am thrilled I will be able to see Tiffany graduate high school. I look forward to visiting her at college and graduating. I am looking forward to seeing her grow into a confident and strong woman. Tiffany has so much potential and I am going to be by her side to see that she reaches that potential.
GalTime: What advice would you give to anyone considering being a Big Sister?
Diane: If you have ever wanted to volunteer or give back to the community or if you have ever thought about giving a gift to a charitable organization, give the gift of your time to mentor a young girl. It’s even more important today to be a mentor to young adults as we are seeing a large population of youth dropping out of school, becoming pregnant, and being disenfranchised in urban communities. The greatest joy of being a Big Sister is not so much what I offer my Little Sister; it’s what she has taught me as an adult. As an adult, we often times forget what it was like to be 7, 13, 16, etc. but seeing your Little Sister at those ages and watching them grow up is so rewarding.