Big Sister program offers a chance at ‘freedom’ for Little Sister

Living with her grandma in their home outside the city, 13-year-old Victoria joined the Big Brother/Big Sister program and found freedom she couldn’t find anywhere else. 

“I’m not one to sit inside. I have the opportunity to do something, I’m going to jump at it,” Victoria said. 

She jumped at the opportunity to be a Little Sister and applied to the program, getting matched with county Judge Joy McCoy in March. 

Victoria and McCoy each filled out a questionnaire and were matched together based on their answers. 

The program is funded through the Lycoming County Children and Youth Services, which is funded through the state, according to McCoy, who is on the advisory board. It serves a mentoring program for youth in the county. 

Currently, there are 24 matches in the county and 14 children waiting for their adult mentors, including 10 boys and four girls, McCoy said. 

Victoria and McCoy have spent the past year going to sports games, trying out the area ice cream shops and hiking in Rider Park. 

The weekly outings have given Victoria a “chance at freedom” beyond what she would normally have. 

The pair spent an hour baking brownies from scratch and getting pedicures on a recent Sunday afternoon – Victoria’s first time doing either. 

The past year has been full of firsts for Victoria, and for McCoy, whose kids have grown and left for college and career, it means having someone around to go on adventures with. 

While the matches are only set to last a year, the pair plans to stay connected for years to come. 

“I don’t see a time limit on it,” McCoy said. “I hope to keep bugging her all the way through high school until she graduates.” 

People interested in joining the Big Brother/Big Sister program can contact Wala Tillman at wtillman@joinder.org or Mary Martin at mmartin@joinder.org or by calling 570-433-3193.

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