Meet A Match: Suzanne and Cassandra

January 11, 2019, Hanna Estrem

Big Sister Suzanne and Little Sister Cassandra are special. Not only have they been matched for 10+ years, but they’ve also overcome several challenges. From a big move to conquering the first day of college, this Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities duo can’t imagine life without one another. And for Suzanne, it all came full circle when Cassandra texted her one day — asking how she could become a Big.

I want to become a Big because I want to impact a young girl’s life, like Suzanne has done and is still doing in my life…I just want to make a difference.

— Cassandra

Read their story here.

BBBS: How long have you been Matched?

Cassandra: I want to start by saying being a part of BBBS was an absolute pleasure. In other words, it was a big blessing for me. My mother worked full time and became a single mother when I was 14, but still having a dad in the house, my mother didn’t get as much time to interact with us because she was always working. I still remember walking down Eisenhower’s hall on the way to the office (I thought I was in trouble) confused because the hall Para wasn’t saying anything to me. As I entered the office, my Principal and her assistant sat me down and told me about BBBS. They spoke to my mother as well. I was totally all for it and was excited to join. I think it has been 12 years now because when I met Suzanne I was 11 going on 12.

 

A month or so after Suzanne + Cassandra met

BBBS: Tell us about one of your favorite memories together.

Suzanne: We’ve done a lot of volunteering together… I think volunteering at Mary’s Place downtown was pretty cool and last month we went to an event in St. Paul where Arlan Hamilton spoke… that was pretty cool. There isn’t any one memory that is more important than the other to me, really. Just the conversations we’ve had through the years are the most meaningful to me.

Cassandra: We have so many memories. Never a dull moment when we got together. I would have to say when I first met Suzanne. When I first met her she came to my house to meet everyone but when she arrived, I was thinking she can’t be mentor she is like my age. We were the same height too. It was just a funny way to to start off our time together. Going to Rotary together was always fun. My other favorite memory together was attending pottery classes at IKE . Making bowls and cups. All of it was just an amazing time over the years.

 

Suzanne + Cassandra’s Match Graduation

BBBS: Tell us about a challenge you’ve encountered. How did you work through it?

Suzanne: A challenging time was when Cassandra moved to Anoka for a year. It was not easy to connect because of the distance but it also was a very challenging year for Cassandra being in a new school and out of her natural element. Thankfully, we kept in touch by phone and I just tried to be understanding of what she was going through. I drove up to Anoka once, I think!

Cassandra: When I moved to Anoka, it became a big challenge for the both of us but we stayed in contact and worked out ways to still get together.
BBBS: What’s your favorite activity to do together?
Suzanne: Just anything – hanging out and talking.
Cassandra: I would have to say every time we got together it was a blast. The one I would never forget is the fruit and nut sale that we did together for Rotary. We got lost a couple times trying to deliver the fruit and nuts to the individuals that ordered, but at the same time we got to hang out and get to know each other more.

Cassandra’s first year in college

BBBS: Suzanne, why did you want to become a Big?
Suzanne: My Rotary Club had a mentorship program and a few of the other Rotary members told me it was a really fun program. I decided to try it! We did lots of group activities with the other Rotarians so Cassandra and I were a part of a community of other Matches.
BBBS: Cassandra, why do you want to become a Big?
Cassandra: I want to become a Big because I want to impact a young girl’s life, like Suzanne has done and is still doing in my life. I want to help a young girl succeed and know they have opportunities no matter what her life make look like. I just want to make a difference.

Cassandra’s high school graduation

BBBS: What advice would you give to future Matches?
Suzanne: JUST DO IT. Getting to know your Little takes time. Keep an open mind because the person you are matched with is a unique individual that only through the process of getting to know them do you discover just how you can best be there for them.

Cassandra: The advice I would give them is have fun and take the time to get to know each other. Have to be open minded from all aspects because you guys are still both learning about each other and yourselves.

Because of Suzanne, Cassandra now wants to become a Big!

 

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