TEAM Vanguard Powered by Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern PA is a unique mentoring program in which Vanguard employees serve as mentors to 48 eleventh and twelfth grade students at Mariana Bracetti Academy (MBA). April, a Vanguard employee for 24 years, met her Little Sister Brianna in February 2013, and they have both been greatly impacted by the program.
After seeing each other regularly for a while, April and Brianna then “enhanced” their mentoring match, meaning they can now meet outside of the program. Sharing new experiences is one of April’s favorite things, and she took Brianna to her first Phillies and Eagles games last summer. The mentor commented that seeing Brianna’s face light up was a reminder to not take things for granted and to cherish each experience she has with her mentee.
April started a scrapbook for Brianna on the day they met that she is using to recap everything they do together during Brianna’s four years of high school. It covers everything from Christmas Eve with Brianna’s family to her 16th birthday party, and will also include her first driving experiences, proms and graduation. “This is something that I believe will be priceless, and she will look back and remember all of the good times we had, and will continue to have, after her senior year. Brianna is really a special person in my life and truly completes me,” said April.
Before being matched, April described herself as introverted, not liking to draw attention to herself. Now, she instead reports a surge of confidence and says Brianna helped her “find her voice.” During the program’s second annual Poetry Slam last spring, April shared with a group of 100 people what Brianna means to her. An excerpt of her poem is below:
“It is a way to be there for someone who, without this program, I would have never met in my life. It is a two way communication between me and another person who share common interests/goals/aspirations in life. When I found out that I was selected for this program, I was so overjoyed and really felt that I could make a difference in someone’s life. I never realized that the person’s life that I was going to impact (Brianna) would have such a profound impact on my life as well. This program really makes me feel like my life is now complete. It is a very humbling experience to share your life with another person through this program.
Brianna is a great Little Sister and she and I were perfectly matched – you couldn’t ask for a better fit. It’s as if it was meant to be and believe me – that is exactly how I feel.
This program has changed my life for the better. I really feel that Brianna and I will be a part of each other’s lives for the rest of our lives. I don’t even know how to write poetry; however, I hope that I conveyed my feelings about Brianna because I NEVER want her to forget what a great person she is and how proud of her I am and to always do her best and keep being positive (the rest will happen).”