Every child deserves kind, caring, and supportive mentors in their life. That’s why donations to United Way support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ozaukee County (BBBS).
Big Sister Susie and her Little Sister Madeline have been matched since 2015. Susie met Madeline, then seven years old, through the BBBS school-based program. Susie knew from Madeline’s teacher that Madeline would benefit from someone who could make her feel special and strengthen her social skills with peers and adults.
Susie and Madeline met weekly at school to work together on homework, play games, and talk.
“The more time we spent together the better we got to know each other,” said Susie, a retired teacher and tutor. “We both knew we wanted to continue to build our friendship.”
Susie and Madeline transitioned to BBBS’s community-based program, where they enjoyed doing art projects, playing games, taking nature hikes, visiting museums, and volunteering at BBBS special events.
As their friendship grew, Madeline opened up to Susie, talking about her friends, stresses at home, and the ups and downs happening in her life.
Today, Madeline is 13 years old and in middle school. Madeline and Susie still enjoy spending quality time together, and they are always looking forward to their next adventure. Susie also has a wonderful relationship with Madeline’s mom, Mary, and has supported Madeline through some difficult family transitions, including when the family was evicted and had to move to a new community this past year.
“Being matched with Susie is wonderful for Madeline,” said Mary, Madeline’s mom. “As a single mom, it’s so nice to know Madeline has a supportive and positive role model who really cares about her.”
Due to Susie’s commitment to help Madeline succeed, navigate trying times, and feel good about herself, Susie was named Big Sister of the Year in 2021.
“I am excited for Susie because she is a great Big Sister,” said Madeline. “She is nice, helpful, and so much fun. I enjoy spending time with her.”
“Madeline has amazed me!” said Susie. “She’s matured a great deal, is open, friendly, and helpful to other people. When Madeline and I first met, I couldn’t have imagined how our relationship would progress! I feel really lucky to know her.”
“I believe in mentoring wholeheartedly,” continued Susie. “There’s something special in every kid out there. If you can get to know them, encourage them, and let them know how special they are, that’s a wonderful thing.”
As their friendship continues to grow and change, Madeline can rest assured that Susie will be there to support her through all of life’s ups and downs.
When you give to United Way, you're not just making a donation. You're changing a life. Susie, Madeline, and Big Brothers Big Sisters remind us all that, to live better, we must Live United.