Meet A Match: Alicia & Imani

August 11, 2021, Katie Huynh

Big Sister Alicia and Little Sister Imani were matched ten months ago during the pandemic, but the forces of Covid-19 and snow couldn’t stop these two from finding ways to have fun together! Their photos show how much Alicia and Imani bonded over their shared passions in science and advocacy work. You can read their inspiring story written by Alicia below. Their relationship truly speaks to the power of youth mentoring.

 

Their match story, written by Alicia:

“Although I have a little sister in my biological family who is approximately my age, having the opportunity to create a lasting relationship with my little, Imani, in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program has allowed me to connect with an amazing individual who I likely would have never had the opportunity to meet.

Imani and I had to wait months before being matched, but the wait was well worth it. The Big Brothers Big Sisters program did a fantastic job finding a little with the same likes, passions, and personality. Imani and I both love music, art, and playing games. We are also both a little shy at first, but are more outgoing once we are comfortable with those we are around. My relationship with Imani has taught me how to be flexible and to embrace trying new things. During COVID-19, it was very difficult trying to find activities to participate in where we could socially distance ourselves. In turn, we tried online games and puzzles, geocaching in the middle of wintery fields, discovering tiny homes that are being built for homeless communities, and touring zoos, art centers, and stadiums. I never would have tried out these activities during a wintery Minnesota pandemic, but being able to develop a relationship with Imani and create memories during these strange times have definitely motivated me to be more adventuresome in my life overall.

Additionally, being matched with Imani has allowed me to form a friendship with an individual who has a very different life from my own. Imani is much younger than me, lives in a different family circumstance, and has different life experiences. Therefore, I have had the opportunity to find activities and events that strike interest in both her and me. For example, I’m not normally drawn to playing online games and puzzles. However, I ended up finding some fun puzzle and game websites that I enjoy simply from trying out one of her interests.

Additionally, Imani and I have recently enjoyed going to Feed My Starving Children, visiting the Minnesota Science Museum, playing with cats at the Cafe Meow, touring the city capitol building, going bowling, completing JA Biztown activities, and much more! I have also had the opportunity to embrace collaborating with Imani and her mom in order to set up activities and plans. Along with this further developing my organizational skills, setting up times to meet with Imani has added so much joy to my life. This past year has been difficult and scary with the pandemic, and I am often busy with college classes and work. However, knowing that I will get to see Imani during the weekend gives me a spark of excitement. I always look forward to spending time with her.”

Yunis, Imani’s mom, also attests to their strong bond, “All the accolades go to Alicia for the exceptional experience she is providing to lmani and the creative ways she made sure they stayed in touch even when the pandemic was at epic proportion.”