Little Lisa’s Journey: A World of New Experiences

“It has been close to 40 years since I was a shy 4th grader, too nervous to participate in class because of my language barrier. My Big Sister would sit next to me and guide me through classroom discussions. She made me feel more comfortable and I would look forward to the days I knew she would be there!” – Little Lisa 

As a first generation Syrian American, Little Lisa struggled with acclimating to a different culture, learning a new language and making friends at Sheridan Elementary School in Allentown. The school’s guidance counselor felt that Lisa would benefit from being matched with a mentor from the High School Bigs’ program, a school-based mentoring program tailored to the specific needs of youth – promoting academic success and cultural integration.  

“My Big Sister was pivotal in helping me become fluent in English and worked alongside me in writing and illustrating my very first ‘All About Me’ book in 4th grade.” Together, they would do homework assignments, special projects and explore new activities with other students in class. “My Big invited me on a new adventure where I went bowling for the first time – looking back, I am sure it might have been my first Bowl for Kids’ Sake experience!” Little Lisa would later become a translator in High School for Syrian students and families who were new to the community. 

Today, Lisa is a realtor serving families of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds across Lehigh Valley. She has been married for 23 years with three sons who have embraced the importance of giving back to their community as well. “Recently, I volunteered with the Easton Youth House, and it reminded me of how much our youth need our support. As I was looking for books to donate, I found my elementary school yearbook and remembered how much encouragement I received from my Big Sister along the way – she played a crucial role in shaping me into the woman I am today.” You can help a young person believe in a world of opportunities too! Volunteer to be a Big Brother or Sister today – Volunteer – Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley (!