In 2008, Brittin attended an information session on Big Brothers Big Sisters at Millikin University in Decatur, Ill. During the presentation, she grew inspired by the opportunity to work with children and make a difference. After signing up to volunteer, Brittin had a couple of matches through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Illinois’s school-based program before being matched with her current Little Sister, Tariah, in the summer of 2011.
Tariah lives in a small apartment with her mom, her brother and her two younger sisters. Tariah is grateful for Big Brothers Big Sisters as it provides her with both a constant friend and mentor in her life. This is a role Brittin takes to heart.
The two have started a tradition, with Brittin starting off each match outing by asking Tariah what things have made her happy, sad or frustrated since they last saw each other. Oftentimes, Tariah will ask Brittin the same question. This serves as a chance for them to touch base and stay current on what is going on in each other’s lives.
Brittin and Tariah enjoy a balanced mix of activities – from volunteering to roller-skating. From the start, Brittin has tried to place importance on having fun, but also on working on Tariah’s schoolwork. Whether they’re improving her spelling test grades or tackling any other subjects, working on Tariah’s education has always been central part of their time together.
Their range of outings allows the two to also work on things like improving Tariah’s social skills and challenging her to get out of her comfort zone. Sometimes they will do homework together, and other times, for example, they will just go roller-skate for hours!
For Tariah, she simply enjoys having Brittin be a part of her life. “Brittin is someone of my own, and that is special to me,” she says. “I feel better about myself since I have Brittin, and I want to be so many things when I grow up now. I love having Brittin as a Big Sister.”