Going Big: Finding a sense of fulfillment in my post-grad life

Earlier in the year, as I approached my impending college graduation, I felt as if I had life figured out. I had a job offer from a great company, I was moving back to my hometown of Indianapolis; I knew which direction my life was headed in. However, there was a looming feeling I couldn’t shake: I wanted to find a way to make my post-grad life count. I wanted to do something that mattered. As cliche as it sounds, I wanted to find a way to make my life meaningful outside of my full-time job.

Posing with a sign as part of BBBSCI and Eli Lilly’s campaign in September to raise awareness of the organization

For these reasons, I decided to start volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana (BBBSCI). This national, highly-respected organization pairs an adult and child together to form a mentor relationship. Since their beginnings in 1904, the organization has formed thousands of relationships that have been linked to higher graduation rates, academic achievements, positive family relationships and more.

From the moment I began the process, I couldn’t wait to get started. Though it was at times meticulous, stretching over the course of a few months, I knew I was joining a great organization. Following the interview process, BBBSCI formally accepted me into their program. This meant that I would attend “big sister” training and then I would be paired with a “little sister”.

One thing I love about BBBSCI is they actually take the time to pair bigs and littles together who will be compatible. They explained to me that this process can sometimes stretch another few months, depending on location, interests and other personality traits. For me, this meant waiting another 2 months before I was finally paired with my little sister.

When I got the call, I was beyond excited. After reading an in-depth description of my little sister, her family and other noteworthy items, I knew that BBBSCI had found the perfect match for me – I couldn’t wait to get started!

Olivia Allen- Sammi Coppedge
My little sister, Olivia, and I are during our match introduction (August 2017).

As a big sister in this program, we hold a number of responsibilities. We meet with our little sisters on a consistent basis each month, typically ranging from 2-4 outings. Each pair has several match goals and “thriving indicators”. During our outings, we do a number of different activities. Not only do we ensure they are fun (very important!) but we also want to make sure these activities help the little sister grow, as well as help the match grow in their mentor relationship. All pairs are also required to participate in one volunteer activity a year.

Not to mention, BBBSCI does a wonderful job at finding low-cost and unique opportunities for matches. Every month, we receive updates of activities and exclusive programming, as well as have access to hundreds of outing ideas on the “Big App”.

Though I’m still at the beginning of my journey with BBBSCI, I am so thankful I found such a meaningful and impactful organization to participate in. I’m looking forward to many more great years to come!




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