Andrea has been a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2013. She had two different high school mentors she is incredibly appreciative of, and for the past four years she has been matched with Tammy Stafford.
Since Andrea and Tammy were matched in 2019, Tammy said she has watched Andrea meet and overcoming challenges with amazing strength while also gaining a more positive outlook on her future and life after high school. Now, Andrea is the 2023 Central Minnesota Little Sister of the Year.
Early in their match, both Tammy and BBBS staff noticed that Andrea thrived in a safe, encouraging one-on-one relationship. Tammy made sure Andrea knew she was someone Andrea could talk to and be herself around, and the match flourished.
There have been ups and downs for Andrea in the four years she’s known Tammy, but knowing she has Tammy on her side has helped Andrea work through some tough situations. “I like how being in Big Brothers Big Sisters influenced me,” she said. “I like being a Little and being able to learn something new, being able to have a good role model in my life.”
As well as being more open with Tammy, Andrea is also more open to new activities and getting involved at school. She has been a part of the school’s theater crew and participated in school sponsored events. Together, she and Tammy go bowling, go on walks, watch movies, go to the zoo, and share meals together.
Andrea has also been more open to the idea of college, and talks about her future more with Tammy. Tammy said that’s the biggest change she’s seen in her Little Sister over the last four years. “Hearing her talk positively about her future, going to college, having those goals, is really cool to hear because I take that to mean that she’s seeing what potential she has,” Tammy said.
Andrea said she enjoys spending time together and learning new things from Tammy, and that being named Little Sister of the Year is something she’s really proud of.
“It makes me feel happy about the way that I’ve experienced my match with Tammy,” Andrea said. “If I didn’t have Tammy, if I wasn’t a Little, I feel like I’d be very different from where I am now. Having her there has created me to be much better and feel much better about myself.”