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January 2019 Match of the Month Brown County | Jeanne Kelley & Jallissa

January 1, 2019

 

Each month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin shines a light on the relationships that we are helping build within our community. Please help us congratulate Big Sister Jeanne Kelley (69) of Green Bay and her Little Sister Jallissa (14)  of Greenleaf — our Brown County Match of the Month for January.

Where did you hear about Big Brothers Big Sisters?

Jeanne Kelley: I’ve known about BBBS for years as Health Coordinator for the Green Bay Head Start program but never had the time until my kids were grown up and I retired.

Why did you want to become involved?

JK: I knew a girl who had been waiting for a match and I decided I wanted to be her Big Sister. I have done other mentoring and advocacy for youth in the past and found it rewarding.

Why did you want a Big Sister?

Jallissa: I wanted to have a Big Sister because it seemed like it would be fun.

What do you do when you spend time together?

JK: Bike rides, swimming, movies, shopping, ceramics, BBBS events, Brown County Breakfast on the Farm, visiting the Green Bay Botanical Garden (Lego exhibit, Festival of Lights, view flowers). I like to include Jallissa in family events with my children and grandchildren (picnics, parties, etc.), I also like to attend her band concerts and sporting events. Some of my favorite times are when we are able to just talk.

What do you do when you spend time together?

J: We do many things! We have gone swimming at the Kroc Center, biking, go out to eat, watch movies, and go to Big Brothers Big Sisters events.

Is there something in particular that stands out as a memorable time with your Little?

JK: We went to Tundra Lodge and had a great time in the waterpark. My grandchildren who are close to her age joined us. Jallissa and I have a lot of fun together but because of our age difference I like to give her experiences that include other teens sometimes. Breakfast on the farm was Fun because until recently she was a city girl.

What is your favorite memory with your Big?

J: I would say the trip to the Science Expo. That was a cool experience. One of the first times I went to the Science Expo with Jeanne, I was able to hold a snake and I loved it! They weren’t slimy, they were very smooth!

Is there something in the future that you would like to do together, or that you look forward to experiencing together?

JK: I would like to take her to a concert featuring a group or singer that she really likes.

Is there something you would like to do in the future with Jeanne?

J: I would like to go to a play, preferably a comedy. We have not done anything like that before and it would be a pleasure to watch.

What have you enjoyed about being a Big?

JK: Building the relationship with Jallissa has been such a joy. She is a remarkable girl and I delight in watching her mature, gain confidence in her skills and blossom into a bright, kind, enthusiastic and capable young woman. I am so proud of her.

What have you learned from Jeanne?

J: I have learned how to express myself more and how to be more social with others.

In what way has being matched with your Little affected you and your life?

JK: Jallissa helps me stay engaged and active. I feel most blessed and grateful for the time we spend together. I’m aware of the fact that to her I’m very old (she reminds me sometimes that I’m older than her grandma) but she is gracious, and we have fun together.

How has being with a Big made a difference for you?

J: Jeanne has been my longest friend and has been there for me through a lot of different changes in my life. I have not only connected with her, but also with members of her family. I enjoy hanging out with her granddaughters. I have also done new things that I never thought I would do, like participating in the Children’s Business Fair. I was able to create and sell my very own merchandise.

What would you say to others about Big Brothers Big Sisters and to others who are thinking about becoming a big?

JK: Go for it! Research has shown that one committed person in a child’s life can be the difference in their being able to handle the stresses and difficulties of life, and you will be blessed beyond belief.