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Small effort, big reward
YourStory: Why Carla Semple loves being a Big Sister
"I have learned so much, not only about Dayzia, but about myself! I learned that I could be a positive influence on someone and that I have a lot to offer a child." - Carla Semple

by Carla Semple

I was at first very hesitant about getting involved with the Bigs. I don't have any kids and I didn't think that I knew how to relate to kids. But in spite of my limited exposure, I thought how bad could it be to join Big Brothers Big Sisters? If I didn't like it, I could always quit.

I was matched with Dayzia in 2009. I was so nervous that first day. I was sweating. I didn't think we'd have anything in common. I had no idea what to say to her.

But, little by little, as we learned more about each other, I started looking forward to going to her school, Bruce Vento Elementary in St. Paul, every Tuesday.

Since then, I have learned so much, not only about Dayzia, but about myself! I learned that I could be a positive influence on someone and that I have a lot to offer a child. It absolutely amazed me how much fun we could have together! I would leave work for one hour to play games and just be silly with Dayzia, and then have to go back to work and try to concentrate. My husband and friends couldn't believe how much I enjoyed this time and wouldn't let anything get in the way of seeing Dayzia for that one hour on Tuesdays!

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Toward the end of that first school year, I checked out the "school based-plus" program that would allow us to spend time together on the weekends. Once all of the paperwork was completed and I met Dayzia's family, it was full speed ahead.

Dayzia met my husband, Tom, over pizza and a spilled orange soda. She expressed an interest in knitting, one of my favorite hobbies, so off to the knitting store we went. I love the fact that Dayzia will initiate a quiet evening over at my house just knitting, talking or watching a favorite show together. I feel honored that she feels comfortable enough to just hang out and not always have to be doing something or going somewhere. The thing I cherish the most is our developing relationship.

I was talking to a co-worker about my Little Sister and he mentioned that he had a Little 30 years ago. I was stunned that they still have a relationship and see each other even though his Little isn't so little anymore and has a family of his own.

My hope for the future is to continue to know and grow with Dayzia. I enjoy spending time with her and hope to help her through whatever her future brings. Maybe someday I will be meeting Dayzia as an adult with her family for dinner one night! That is one of the greatest wishes that I have.

Carla Semple was recently nominated for a "Bigs of the Year" award from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities. www.bigstwincities.org

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