Mentoring has always been a part of Bailey’s life, because it was a part of her father’s life.
Bailey’s dad Jim lost his father at a young age, and found himself isolated with no one to look up to as a role model. Seeing the challenges Jim was facing, his Scout leader Bob took it up on himself to introduce Big Brothers Big Sisters to their small rural community in B.C. and became Jim’s ‘Big Brother’.
Growing up Bailey always knew Bob as ‘Uncle Bob’, not knowing how he became part of her life, or the impact he had had on her father. Years later, after moving to Airdrie, Bailey, curious about Uncle Bob, asked her father and was told how their mentoring relationship began. Bailey learned how mentoring changed her father’s life and gave him the gift of a lifelong friendship.
Inspired by their story Bailey wanted to give back to her community, just as Bob had done years before. She decided to become a mentor.
“Talking with my dad, I knew it was a big commitment and might not always be easy, but I was sure I wanted to be a ‘Big Sister’,” said Bailey.
After signing up with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Bailey was matched with her ‘Little’, 11 year old Teelynd. The pair felt an immediate connection and on their first outing filled a notebook with all of the things they wanted to do together. Over a year later they are still checking activities off that list and even adding new ones.
Sadly, Uncle Bob passed away last year before Bailey could let him know he inspired her to become a ‘Big Sister’. Still, Uncle Bob’s example as a mentor continues to inspire Bailey in her work with Teelynd. Knowing that her father and Bob were connected for most of their lives, Bailey tells Teelynd that their bond will last a lifetime, too. For Teelynd, “that’s the best thing about having a ‘Big Sister’!”