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‘She showed me that there is a different world out there’

Friendship with Big was life changing, says former Little Sister

Janie Bergeron remembers how she felt when she was with her Big Sister Elaine. “When I was with her, I felt like the most important person in the world.”

Matched when she was about 11, Bergeron says she did “cool things” when she was with Elaine. “Elaine was young – in her early 20s, I think – and I thought she was so cool.”

Bergeron, the oldest daughter of a single mom with four daughters, says that her mother was fantastic but “she saw that we needed extra attention that she didn’t have the time to give us. My mom was busy working, keeping food and milk in the refrigerator.”

Now the executive director of Green Gables Haven in Hastings, Bergeron says her friendship with Elaine was “life changing” and she ties her dedication to serving in the non-profit field to the time she spent with her Big Sister. “It made me want to do more in the world because of the time she spent with me.

“She showed me that there is a different world out there” from what she knew, Bergeron says.

All of the memories she has of her Big Sister are good, Bergeron notes. She points out that by spending time with Elaine, she learned that “there are a lot of things you can do that don’t cost a lot of money. We would hang out at her apartment and take walks in the woods.”

The time spent together was what was most important, Bergeron says.

She also credits her Big Sister with helping to boost her self-esteem. “She made me feel like a special person,” she says. “She made a young girl feel really pretty.”