Singing Her Praises

Nicolette’s future sounds great, thanks to Ines.
Nicolette wants to be an R&B singer one day, but for now she will settle for singing the praises of her Big Sister, Ines. For the last two and a half years, Nicolette has had a friend to rely on, confide in, and have fun with.
Thirteen-year-old Nicolette lives with her older brother Marcus. He knows how a positive female relationship will be a good influence on his sister. “Nicolette’s relationship with Ines contributes to her understanding of what a responsible, healthy role model should be.” Ines has been through school and is a working woman, so she sets a positive example for Nicolette.
Nicolette was nervous the first time she met Ines, but they got to know each other quickly. “She was fun and easy to talk to,” recalls Nicolette. The Big Sister and Little Sister are both of Latin decent, and Marcus says this similarity has offered them a connection. In fact, Marcus hopes that Ines will teach Nicolette to speak Spanish and that they share their different cultural upbringings.
Nicolette is in eighth grade and enjoys dancing and singing. She sings in her high school choir and finds inspiration from Beyonce Knowles and Mariah Carey. Ines has been a positive sounding board and source of advice for Nicolette. They talk about school, boys and friends. Marcus explains, “I’m a guy and her guardian, so she’s not as comfortable talking to me about boys and things like that.”
Nicolette says she looks to Ines like an actual big sister. “Ines has had positive impact and makes me a happier person.” Her fondest memory is going to pottery class with Ines. She knows that her Big Sister likes to drink coffee, so she made Ines a coffee mug in her favorite colors, wrote her name and topped it off with her own signature. She has also made Nicolette a jewelry box with a ballerina on top. “It was nice to do art and talk at the same time,” remembers Nicolette. “And we were able to use the things we made.”
Nicolette and Ines also go to the movies, spend time outdoors in the park, window shop, and eat lunch or dinner in their favorite restaurants. They even went to a pop music concert.
Ines helps Nicolette with her schoolwork as well. One afternoon, she was working on a story for English class about a young boy and young girl. “I knew how I wanted to start the story and the story line, but I just got stuck. So Ines helped me write the ending, and I think it came out really well.” Nicolette also loves to read—to expand her mind and vocabulary, and with focus she will succeed in school.
“Knowing Ines is a privilege,” Marcus explains. “At the end of the day, we are all looking for human connection to one another. Big Brothers Big Sisters is an organization that gives kids healthy role models as they find their way in the process of growing up. This really is helping a young woman come of age.”
“I’m really glad to have Ines in my life,” Nicolette says. “She’s been a good friend and a good Big Sister. I’m thankful for all the times that she’s been there for me.”

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