Originally published on Colchester Weekly

January 11, 2018

Celebrating our Mentors

During the month of January Big Brothers Big Sister of Colchester and other agencies and organizations across North America have been celebrating mentors. Throughout January we have been celebrating our different mentors, and this week we’d like to highlight Ashlee Bonnell.

Ashlee is one of our dedicated Big Sisters. She has been volunteering as a Big now since Nov 2016 and has been one of our most passionately engaged mentors. It’s not hard to tell she absolutely loves being a mentor for Annika. Ashlee and Annika were matched in Nov 2016 and it’s been none stop fun since then.

Ashlee looks forward to their weekly visits as she knows they will be full of laughter and fun! “Seeing her little smile is the most amazing feeling in the world!  From fishing, going to the movies, baking cookies and going bowling there’s never a dull moment with Annika.”

Often times the focus is on the benefit to the mentee, and the substantial reward that comes with becoming a mentor gets overlooked. It’s quite common to hear a mentor say they feel they have gained more from the relationship then the mentee. When given the opportunity to be someone’s mentor you  might be surprised at how much you find yourself learning and growing as a person.

Ashlee attested to this by making a point to say how much joy Annika has brought to her life. “To know I am positively affecting Annika’s life just by spending an hour a week with her brings me so much joy. For anyone wanting to become a big brother or big sister I highly recommend it. You won’t regret it! Having Annika as my little sister has not only impacted my life, but also my family’s life. Everyone loves her and she never stops making us smile and laugh.”

Here at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colchester we just wish we could multiply matches like Ashlee and Annika’s. We hope that this New Year brings us lots of mentors just like Ashlee, who are ready to make a difference in a young person’s life.

Sallie Murphy, a Caseworker here at BBBS who spends time with Ashlee and Annika during follow ups, and BBBS events and activities has this to say about the match. “It’s been a real joy to watch their friendship develop over the past year. It’s quite clear that they really enjoy spending time together. There always seems to be smiles accompanied with laughter and no shortage of fun. As a caseworker, its matches like Ashlee’s and Annika’s that remind me that what we do here at BBBS matters.”

Our goal is that every child in Colchester who needs a mentor, has a mentor. Annika is one more child we know is being positively impacted by a BBBS mentor. Annika says that because of Ashlee, she “feels amazing.”

Please follow along with us on our Facebook and Instagram pages for the remainder of January as we celebrate and recognize BBBS mentors. These individuals are the difference makers in our community.

From all of us here at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colchester, thank you to our community volunteers, partners and champions who make Colchester a great place to live, work and play.