By Sarah Albinson
It has been such an incredible pleasure to work with the Big Sister program at Mary’s Place and get to know thirteen incredible women and their leaders. The participants ranged from ages 11 to 18 and came from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds including Somali, Native American, Puerto Rican, and African American. We have enjoyed eight sessions together from January to March.
We shared the stories we illustrated over the past several weeks together. Our sessions have covered a variety of potentially touchy subjects including family, context (the places that have shaped us), major life events, and hopes and dreams. Most of the women have lived in as many as six different places, and one even moved to New York in the middle of our meetings. All have experienced extreme loss and have had to find joy in the midst of frustration. One of the most precious moments has been getting to know the Somali girls, who barely speak English, and yet in the midst of their shyness have opened up with hugs and stories to myself and the other leaders. Their images have expressed beauty and hope in it s purest form, by acknowledging the difficulties in life, but not being overcome by them. I am really looking forward to future partnerships with Mary’s Place!