The Big Reunion: Big Sister Lori and Little Sister Kim Reconnect after 40 Years

Big Lori felt like an anxious kid as she waited outside the restaurant where she would meet her Little again after four decades. “At 54 and 67, we did not instantly recognize each other,” Little Kim laughs, “I was looking for a brunette, because I remember her having dark hair. I noticed a slim blonde, and I took a chance – and it was my Big, Lori!” There was an instant reconnection — they talked until the restaurant closed, then headed over to Starbucks to reminisce a little longer over coffee.

In 1979, Kim was struggling with an abusive stepdad, and her mom saw an opportunity for Kim to have a positive role model and have fun in the community — at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley in Allentown. Little Kim remembers her Big Sister picking her up for the first time in a little white Pinto with an orange interior and roof. Kim gleams with nostalgia, “We didn’t have a car when I was growing up, so it was exciting just to take a ride in her cool Pinto!” A young professional in her early 20s, Lori was nervous because she had little experience with 11-year-olds. She wondered if Kim’s mother would like her and trust her to keep Little Kim safe.

Lori felt a strong call to make a difference in her community. She had time to give, and asked herself, “What is going to make me feel good?” Her friend Mary was a new Big Sister and invited Lori to try it too. Lori and Mary – still friends today — got to know each other better as they bonded with their new little sisters. Little Kim recalls how excited she was to have so many first-time experiences with her Big. “I remember the John Travolta shirt I wore for horseback riding like it was yesterday! We went roller skating at Castle Garden, ice skating, played miniature golf, swam at the YMCA and would get ice cream at Oasis afterwards. I even met Lori’s dad at a special dinner!”

When Kim was 20, she experienced tough losses – her beloved mom passed away from breast cancer, five months after her stepdad died, and nine months later she lost her dad too. “I have been through a lot in my life, but I now know that each experience has been a steppingstone that gave me the strength to move to the next chapter.” Married for 30 years and Mom to three, Kim enjoys a successful career as a Business Development & Marketing Manager in the home care industry. She still believes in her ability to overcome anything to make her dreams come true, thanks to Lori’s support. Lori is reaping the rewards from her relationship with Kim now more than ever and she cherishes the importance of relationship stability, “Kim is like a true sister to me, and to reconnect with her now lets me know I still have a lot more memories to create!”

Likewise, Kim has learned to appreciate the people who stood up for her and influenced her so deeply. “I have come to value relationships enough to stay in touch with people who made a difference in my life. After COVID, I felt compelled to reach back and thank my Big and the people who made a significant impact. Life felt very fragile after the pandemic. I began to appreciate my mother’s struggles and her decisions. She did the best she could by giving me bigger opportunities through the program. I understand how pouring into and supporting another person is a true sacrifice, that my Big made for me at such an early age and, I am ever grateful for how it ultimately changed my life.”

With your donation, we can sustain our professionally supported, one-to-one mentoring relationships, and make more matches for the 247 children from our communities who are currently waiting for their Big. Spark another life-changing connection and donate to BBBSLV today!