February 12, 2016 / 3rd of Adar, 5776
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From The Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters Mail Bag

We love getting mail and hearing stories directly from our volunteers and participants. Here is a story we received from Kasey, who has been matched in our Friend 2 Friend program for the past year and a half.

In May of 2009, I became friends with Lynn, a 26-year-old girl who I was matched with in the Friend 2 Friend Program of Jewish Big Brother Big Sisters that pairs volunteers and adults with disabilities in friendship. Throughout this year and a half in the program, I have learned that Lynn loves pizza and Zac Efron films; enjoys making art but doesn’t care much for museums. Her cheeks turn apple red when she talks about her boyfriend, and her eyes show a genuine sadness when she’s fighting with a friend.

Another thing that I’ve discovered is that Lynn cares just as much about other peoples’ friends and family as she does her own. She always asks me how my roommate’s classes are going or when my mom will be in town next. So, when I told her that my sister was pregnant, her face beamed with excitement.

For the next five months, Lynn kept tabs on how my sister was feeling, and we discussed our favorite girl names and what the baby might look like. When Mia Louise was born with blue eyes and a trace of brown hair, I called Lynn to share the news. I was immediately flooded with questions – “When was she born?…What’s her name?…What does she look like?” But, for the time being, the most important question was mine to ask. And when I asked her if she’d help me make a celebratory batch of cookies for my sister, the answer was an unequivocal “Yes.”

That Tuesday night, Lynn and I grabbed some pizza, suited up in aprons and got to work. In between cups of flour and teaspoons of cinnamon, I showed her pictures from my recent trip to Europe. Over heaps of brown sugar and cracked eggs, we laughed and shared stories from the weeks since we had last hung out. Lynn manned the stand mixer while I prepped the baking sheets, and we sat at the table together rolling balls of dough and dipping them in sugar. “This is fun,” she said through a smile.

I, of course, had no doubt in my mind that this would be fun. With a little trial and error, Lynn and I have found many things that we both enjoy — painting pottery, trying new restaurants, going to the movies, and dancing to Michael Jackson. Thanks to the Friend 2 Friend program, I have sparked a friendship with Lynn that would not otherwise exist. And this friendship I have, along with those of other volunteers, is one that means just as much to me as it does to my match.

Friendship: The next big thing.

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