My name is Sierra Norman, I am a senior at Bryn Mawr College. I am majoring in Psychology on the Pre-Med track and minoring in Child & Family Studies. I have always had a passion for helping children and am pursuing a career as a pediatric psychiatrist where I can continue to do so.
When I was a freshman at Bryn Mawr College, I wanted to find a club or program to volunteer with that was focused on helping children. I joined the Belmont Mentoring Club, which partnered with the Belmont Charter School to help the students with homework, attend their extracurricular clubs, and do activities with them. Unfortunately, the program ended during my sophomore year and there wasn’t another to replace it. So when I read about the Big Sister Program last Spring, I was so excited and immediately reached out to get information about how I could be involved! I met with the program organizers, Inés Arribas and Julien Suaudeau, and was on board to start this Fall.
The program started with a group meeting for the members on campus and then another meeting for a tour of Willard Elementary School before working with the Little Sisters. We have had three meetings with our Little Sister’s this semester. The first day we met with the girls, they were so happy to start the program, but also a little shy. I was very excited and was hoping my Little Sisters would like me! We spent some time the first day with icebreakers and getting to know one another.
Our main goal with this program, aside from being a constant for the children to rely on, is to help prepare them for the Pennsylvania System School Assessment (PSSA). We spend most of our time reading and writing with them to prepare for the test. We also spend a little bit of time with icebreakers and fun activities to help establish a bond. Since we are still early on in the program, my Little Sister is a little shy and quiet. But she has shown more silliness this week and also is very willing to get prepared for the PSSA, so I am looking forward to working with her for the rest of the program!
I am really excited to invite our Little Sisters to come to Bryn Mawr College’s campus in the spring and show them around. Other members of the Big Sisters Program will be writing about their experiences over the next few weeks, so stay tuned to read about them!