Big Sister Inger Svalling began volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters out of her desire to contribute to the community. Inger has a passion for horses and thought she and her horses might offer a unique mentoring experience for a Little Sister. It wasn’t long before she was matched with her Little Sister Itzelh! Inger laughed recalling her match introduction with Itzel. “When we first met, she was 6 and I was in my 70s. I asked if she was surprised her Big Sister was so old and she smiled very diplomatically. So I said ‘Well, my body is old but my mind is not’ and Itzelh said ‘Oh goody!’” They then headed to McDonald’s for a bite to eat and to continue getting to know one another. To Inger’s surprise, Itzelh proudly exclaimed “This is my Big Sister!” to the employee behind the counter. As they were eating, Itzelh noticed a family leave all of their trash on a neighboring table and immediately took it upon herself to clean up the mess. Inger knew then, Itzelh has had a strong upbringing at home and was special.
The two will have been matched 10 years in September 2021 and Big Sister Inger couldn’t be more proud of her Little. “I have enjoyed the whole process and just getting to watch her grow up. She always says to me ‘If you ever need anything, you just call me.’ She comes from a great family.” Over the years, it has been clear to the Big Brothers Big Sisters agency that this match has been a blessing to one another. Itzelh’s mother initially wanted her daughter to have a Big Sister to help her come out of her shell and expose her to new things. When Itzelh was 8 years old, she and Inger had the chance to attend a talk on careers. Itzelh decided then she would like to become a nurse and, today at age 15, she hasn’t wavered from that interest.
While Itzelh hasn’t developed as strong of a passion for horses as her Big Sister Inger, the two have found many other things in common and consider each other family. Inger brags on how kind-hearted her Little Sister is and Itzelh’s mother has bragged on how proud she is of the strong bond her daughter has with Inger. Inger felt especially honored to help Itzelh make connection with a local orthodontist to get her braces…no doubt helping Itzelh’s smile match the brightness and kindness of her heart.
While she had so many words to brag on Itzelh, Inger had only a few words for someone considering becoming a Big with BBBS: “Just do it. You won’t regret it!”