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‘She teaches me as much as I teach her’

Big Sister, Little Sister enjoy being ‘goofy,’ setting goals

Little Sister Rebecca and Big Sister Sharon Zinser share a sense of adventure and an appreciation for being “goofy.” And when they are together, they laugh – a lot. It all comes together in a strong friendship.

“She’s willing to try any wacky thing I suggest,” Sharon says. “Even if she’s scared to death, she’ll try it.”

“How do you know if you don’t like something if you don’t try it?” Rebecca asks. “I think it’s fun to learn new things.”

The two have ice skated (not very successfully on her part, Sharon says), often ride horses, and frequently go to Zumba class. “She picked up the moves so easily,” Sharon says.

Rebecca, who is now 12, and Sharon started out as a site-based match at Rebecca’s elementary school. They later transitioned to a community-based match so they could meet outside of school and during the summer. Rebecca especially wanted to visit Sharon’s farm to see her goats. “And she chased the peacocks,” Sharon says. “I think she about gave them heart attacks!”

Now, almost three years into their friendship, the two talk about the importance of having goals and making a plan to achieve them. Sharon created an affirmation book for Rebecca, a sort of guidebook to help her make the best decisions.

“This is something I will always have,” Rebecca says, holding the book close. “I absolutely love this.”

Sharon says Rebecca isn’t the only one to gain something from their friendship. “I have a built-in buddy,” she says. “If I want to do something goofy, I have Rebecca.” Plus, she says, “She teaches me as much as I teach her. You see life in a different way when you are with a child.”

For her part, Rebecca appreciates having a friend who listens to her. “Having her in my life has made such a big difference,” Rebecca says. “She’s always been there for me.”