But seriously... I do believe that helping children is important. Educating them, teaching them right from wrong, showing them kindness. The best way to fix a future adult's problems is to stop them from occurring, by investing time in her when she is just a kid. Or at least making her better prepared to handle them when they do occur.
Ideally, I'd love to be a wealthy person who makes a huge investment in an inner-city school someday, or something like that. But that's not me just yet. I can't help tons of kids right now, but I can at least start with one. This is why I joined the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. I signed up last year, but I fell through the cracks and they didn't find me a match until recently.
So I have a Little Sister now. A second one actually, although my first (biological) little sister doesn't get capital letters like that. KL is 11 years old, and she's a pretty neat kid. I was "matched" with her a month ago, but my journaling has been so sporadic of late that I haven't managed to say anything about it until now.
The initial match meeting was pretty scary, actually. I'm generally a bit scared of new things, even if they're just 11. Plus, I had to meet with a BBBS person, the Little, and her whole family. It was pretty intimidating.
After the official business, I spent some time hanging out with her and her family. She has two parents and a little brother. And two dogs. A bunch of neighborhood kids were in and out of the backyard as we sat there talking and eating cookies. I found the whole thing fairly overwhelming. Kids everywhere, talking loudly and chaotically, popping in and out of the area, feeding candy to the dogs, asking questions.... it was quite a change from the quiet and reserved lifestyle I've gotten used to!
I think it was good for me. Or at least, I hope so. It's been a long time since I've spent much time with any kids, especially the walking/talking type of kids. Hopefully it will turn out that KL and I are good for one another.
It was funny. During that initial meeting, she kept wanting to DO something with me. "Want to go to the park? Can we walk to the candy store?" But I wasn't ready for an outing yet, we were supposed to just spend some time talking with her family there, so I kept refusing. Then she asked, "Want to ride bikes? You could ride my brother's bike. Or you could just ride on my pegs."
I looked at her little bike, and indeed it had big metal pegs sticking out of the rear wheel. I couldn't help but laugh. I've ridden on bicycle pegs before, but it has to have been at LEAST twenty years, probably more! I love picturing myself standing on those pegs while this skinny little 11-year-old pedaled me along!
We're supposed to meet every two weeks. So two weeks later, she and I got together for some pizza and walking. It was much easier for me, once there was just two of us. Plus I could get to know HER a lot better. We talked about all kinds of things, just chatting away. She's fun to talk to, full of energy, and I liked getting more comfortable with each other. After the pizza we walked around a garden store for awhile, then got ice cream. It was a good evening.
Tonight was supposed to be our second get-together. We were going to go putt-putting, which I was looking forward to. Unfortunately it monsooned this evening. I was debating what to do, looking up movie listings, then I realized it was time to be going. I only arrived 5 or 10 minutes later than expected, but nobody was home.
Quite the bummer! I expect that KL didn't communicate our plans properly with her mother -- I know she asked, but maybe it just didn't get scheduled. Or maybe something came up last minute, or the rain changed something. Or perhaps they just forgot... that happens.
I left a message on their answering machine, or at least I think I did. I'll give her a call tomorrow and we'll figure out something for next week. Hopefully it will even be a nice day, and we can do something outside.