Success Stories


Deb enrolled her three granddaughters:  Ryli, Kyeli, Raena, in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the 7 Rivers Region community-based mentoring program in summer 2013.  Deb was hesitant at first, because she has always been very independent and has strived to do her best to raise her grandchildren on her own, since their mother was too young to care for them.  Deb hoped they would get more one-on-one time with an adult who could engage each in physical activities she is not able to do.

Deb has been in awe of the amazing relationships her grandchildren have formed with each of their Bigs.  She described the Bigs as a perfect fit for each child.  The Bigs are constantly making and effort to expose their Littles to new activities.  Ryli learned to swim, Raena learned to ice skate, and Kyeli developed an appreciation for the arts.  The Bigs have become an integral part of the family and are invited to family dinners and holiday gatherings.  The Bigs make sure to bring the children to as many of the Big Brothers Big Sisters' structured monthly activities so that they can be exposed to as many opportunities as possible.  The one-on-one time has helped the Littles grow and learn, provided the volunteers with valuable learning experiences, and allowed grandma to have some much needed respite time.

The friendships formed will continue to grow and foster a loving and supportive lifelong relationship.  What started as a volunteer opportunity has turned into a life-changing connection best described as family.

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United Way of the Greater
Winona Area

902 East 2nd Street, Suite 330
Winona, MN  55987
Phone:  507.452.4624