TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — It started with a smile. “She just had the biggest smile on her face," said Little Sister Tiara. Fast forward to five years later. “It’s like her smile makes me smile," said Tiara.
There's a strong bond between Big Sister Hannah and her Little, 15-year-old Tiara. "We’ve gone to like Funtasticks. We go out to have lunch at places. We watched movies. Done fair outings, like when it was open," explained Tiara.
The pair has a scrapbook full of memories with plenty of funny moments along the way. "We touched stingrays. That was cool but they just smell horrible," laughed Tiara.
From laughs to stepping outside of their comfort zones together. "We went horse back riding one year and it was both of our first times. And we were both a little nervous," said Hannah.
Overcoming challenges with each other has made them grow even closer. “You went outside your comfort zone. Like we went hiking. It was a pretty tough hike and it was cold," said Hannah.
Through it all, Tiara said thanks to Hannah her self confidence has also grown. "She’ll do this thing. If I say something like, oh my god I don’t like how I look today, she’ll be like nope, now you gotta say three things that you like about yourself," said Tiara.
And there's plenty to like. "Tiara has the best sense of humor, too. She cracks me up all the time," said Hannah.
Through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona, Tiara found what she was missing. "I live with my grandma and my sister is 7 years younger than me," said Tiara.
Now she has an older sister. “She’s like a true sister to me. Like I don’t know. I count her as like a blood sister," Tiara said.
"We’ve been matched for five years, but it feels like I’ve known you my whole entire life," Hannah said. "If I didn’t have her, who knows where I would be," Tiara said. Two lives forever changed and sisters for life.
Research from Big Brothers Big Sisters found youth who meet regularly with their mentors are 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs
and 27% less likely to start drinking.
Young adults who face an opportunity gap but have a mentor are 81% more likely to participate regularly in sports or extracurricular activities.
To learn more about volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona, click here.