Meet the Match: Kat & Amaia
Every child has potential and could benefit from having an additional role model to help ignite it. When you volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters, like Kat does, you can be that spark. Sign up as a Big today and you can help a child (Little) fully realize the potential they’ve had all along.
HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated September 15th-October 15th. During this month, we celebrate the rich history and contributions of Hispanic and Latin American communities, including thousands of Bigs and Littles in our program nationwide.
This Hispanic Heritage Month, we are thrilled to share the story of Kat and Amaia, a mentor/mentee pair who are both children of Hispanic immigrant parents.
MEET THE MATCH
Kat, a Nurse Practitioner, moved from Miami to Kalamazoo and was eager to make a positive impact in her new community. She signed up to become a mentor (Big Sister) and was soon matched with 12-year-old Amaia.
Their friendship began in September 2020, and despite the pandemic’s curveballs, their friendship thrived. They had to take breaks from seeing one another during the pandemic, but their friendship still stands today and is more powerful than either of them ever imagined.
One of the secrets to their friendship is their shared values – both Kat and Amaia are very family-oriented. Kat’s parents are from Cuba, while Amaia’s are from Mexico, creating a bond that transcends cultural borders.
Finding a match that’s successful for both mentors and mentees is important. That’s why the BBBS team ensures that Bigs share common interests with Littles, creating a foundation for their friendship. We call this “intentional matching,” and it’s a big part of what makes BBBS’ approach to mentoring special.
As for their favorite activities, Kat and Amaia love trying new things together. During the winter, they love grabbing hot cocoas and admiring Christmas lights – classic holiday fun.
Most recently, however, they decided to try rock climbing at Climb Kalamazoo. “I never want to do that again,” Amaia giggles. “Kat was having a hard time tying the knots… It was stressful, but so funny.” The experience was filled with more laughter than gravity-defying feats, making it an unforgettable afternoon of trust-building.
The pair has also spent time pouring back into the community together by volunteering at a local food bank. “That may have been my favorite experience with her,” Kat shares.
A FAMILY EXTENSION
When asked how Kat makes her feel, Amaia’s face lit up. “Really happy,” she shares. “She has helped me so much.”
Kat feels equally enriched by their friendship. Amaia’s family welcomed her with open arms, making her feel like an extension of their family. “We’re all here to support Amaia,” Kat explains. Together, they form a support network for Amaia, ensuring she has access to all the opportunities she deserves.
When it comes to Big Brothers Big Sisters, Amaia sums it up perfectly: “It gives me the chance to do things I couldn’t do otherwise, and you get to meet someone special and bond with them.”
SO MUCH FUN!
Their expectations before becoming Big Sister and Little Sister were pleasantly incorrect. Kat thought it might be a lot of work, but was thrilled when she realized how much fun she was going to have. Amaia had doubts about the friendship initially, but their very first hangout changed her perspective completely. “We went to the Air Zoo and had a blast,” she recalls fondly.
JUST DO IT.
Their advice for those considering becoming Bigs? Amaia encourages them to “expect the best; it’s actually a really great time.” Kat’s words of wisdom are simple yet profound: “If you have doubts, just do it. It opens your eyes to someone else’s life.“