'Big Sister' Mandy Thoohan with 11-year-old Britney.

Big need for Big Sisters in Surrey

Little sister Britney finds her 'greatest friend' in her mentor Mandy.

Growing up in a low-income household in Surrey in the middle of four siblings, 11-year-old Britney wanted a Big Sister mentor so she’d have “someone to trust, someone who could pick me up and do fun things with me.

“And be my greatest friend,” Britney says quietly, hugging Mandy Thoohan.

Britney and Mandy found each other through Big Sisters, an organization that matches adult women with girls aged seven to 17.

Thoohan, 23, is currently putting herself through university to become a teacher.

“I didn’t receive the kind of support I needed as a young girl,” she explains, “and after I heard about Big Sisters through a classmate, I wanted to prevent another girl from feeling that way too.”

When asked how she manages her job, a full course load, and weekly visits with Britney, she laughs and explains that she doesn’t think of it as “volunteering,” and that her time with Britney is exactly what she needs to “decompress and have fun.”

At the beginning of their match one year ago, the pair decided one of their goals would be to stay active. They enjoy swimming, watching puppy training classes at the local pet store and trying different kinds of sushi rolls together. Thoohan says Britney’s mom is always happy to hear that Britney has tried something new with Thoohan and that she is opening up to someone.

Thoohan says that although her main goal has been to help Britney gain confidence, her little sister has actually inspired her to face some of her own fears, such as sliding down a waterslide for the first time.

“I can’t swim!” she laughs, “It was extremely scary, but I’m happy Britney pushed me to try it.”

When asked how Britney thinks her life might be different without Thoohan, she looks down and shyly says, “I’d probably be on the couch watching TV.”

The Big Sister program has had such a positive impact on Britney that she now wants to be a Big Sister as soon as she turns 19.  She also wants to be a teacher when she grows up, just like Thoohan.

Big Sisters of B.C. Lower Mainland has an ongoing need for Big Sister volunteers in Surrey. There are currently 29 girls waiting to be matched. As Big Sisters looks for volunteers who live nearby and have the same interests, some girls in Surrey are currently waiting up to a year to be matched.

To become a Big Sister, you must be at least 19 and be able to commit two hours each week to a girl ages seven to 17 for one year.

For information on how you can become a Big Sister, or volunteer in another program, visit: http://www.bigsisters.bc.ca or email info@bigsisters.bc.ca.

 

Just Posted

Community invited to help with Downtown Surrey BIA’s fence art project

Association is hoping to change the ‘narrative’ for 135A Street with artwork

Surrey killer foiled by cops’ suspicion he was underage in a bar

Birinderjeet Singh Bhangu was shot dead outside the Comfort Inn and Suites Hotel on Fraser Highway

Bureaucracy leaves Whalley Legion members thirsty

Legion’s new location needs liquor licence, despite being down street from former digs

Blaine railway stop contingent on international support: All Aboard Washington

Non-profit organizers look to residents of Surrey, White Rock and North Whatcom County

Delta man charged after police surround Tsawwassen home

Troy Kevin Reimer, 52, is charged with one count of uttering or conveying a threat to cause death or bodily harm

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

Most Read