We are proud to introduce Christine Heflin-Ewing as our 2015 Big Sister of the Year. Through her outstanding commitment to her Little Sister Florence, Christine has far exceeded the expectations of a normal mentoring-relationship.
We have seen Christine attain an inspiring level of understanding of Florence. “(Christine) knows the core of Florence,” Big Brother Big Sister Match Support Specialist Wendi Whittaker said. “She knows that the best way to show up for her, support her, and guide her is by taking her lead.” This willingness to wholeheartedly pursue her relationship with her Little Sister is the reason why we are delighted to present her with this award.
A testament to this willingness is demonstrated by her ability to be there for Florence. She works in Washington D.C. on weekdays and only has weekends to spend with her family. Despite only having a little time each week to spend with her family, she still made sure to set aside time with her Little Sister. The value that Christine places on her relationship with Florence has amazed us throughout their years together.
But there were obstacles besides physical distance in Christine and Florence’s relationship. Florence had been moved around constantly as a child, seriously hampering her ability to form lasting bonds. Not only did she never have a real opportunity to become committed to someone, but she was from a family of refugees as well. “(Florence) liked to read but, apart from that fact, had absolutely nothing in common with me,” Christine said. “[She was] a person with from an entirely different world view.” “And that was a good thing.”
Florence’s father, Jacob, couldn’t be happier with the way his daughter’s Big Sister has affected her life. “Chris always knows exactly what Florence needs,” Jacob said. Florence herself thinks of Christine as much more than just a stranger paired with her through Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Utah. She now considers Christine her best friend.
Though there were a multitude of obstacles in her way, Christine doesn’t brag about her incredible accomplishments. She doesn’t look at her relationship with Florence like she was doing a favor for the younger girl. “She isn’t doing anything ‘for’ Florence,” Whittaker said. “Rather they are doing this with each other.” – Alex Harrington
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Big Brother of the Year 2015