Women in Mentorship Spotlight with Big Sister Mia

Women mentoring girls is so important—because when they see it, they believe they can be it. It helps them gain access to bigger opportunities, builds their self-confidence, and gives them guidance to address challenges as they advance through school and life. When more women reach back to support young girls, the greater the prospect that those same girls will become mentors themselves. We had a chance to sit down with Mia Kline, our Program Specialist, to discuss how her Big Sister inspired her to become a mentor and continue the legacy of making a difference in her community.

How did you get involved with BBBSLV? Tell me your story. 

I was recommended for the program by my guidance counselor in elementary school because I was getting bullied and came from a single parent household. My mom was really excited for me to have another person to look up to. I learned a lot from my Big, who was a volunteer in what is now our High School Bigs’ program, about school and various aspects of life. She had been bullied when she was younger, so she helped to guide me through those things.

How long have you and your Little Kryneisha been matched? What makes your bond unique? 

Kryneisha and I have been matched for 4 years; one year school based, and three years community based. My favorite thing about Kryneisha is her sense of humor! She has been through a lot and always finds a way to make others laugh. That’s really inspiring to me. Our bond is unique because we have a bond one to one but, it’s grown even deeper because of my connection to her older sister, Kileysha who is my other Little. It has been interesting getting to know them together and separately and has helped me learn more about them. 

Describe a defining moment in your relationship. The turning point? 

I was nervous to meet Little Kryneisha in the beginning and it took a while for us to get comfortable with each other. When our match switched from school based to community based, I noticed a shift in our relationship because we were able to try new activities together in the community. It created opportunities to learn more about one another and establish a closer relationship. Over time, Kryneisha’s confidence in herself and our relationship grew. She even felt comfortable confiding in me about losing her mother in a tragic car accident. 

How did you eventually come aboard as a Program Specialist with BBBSLV? 

As a Human Development and Family Studies major, I was looking to intern with an agency that would give me a competitive edge in Human Services. BBBSLV happened to have an opening for an internship and I was so excited to apply! With my background and history in the program, it seemed natural to come on board as an intern and when Maggie, our Program Director, invited me to apply for the position as Program Specialist, I was sure that this was a promising start to my career. My enrollment in the BBBSLV program has opened doors for me that I never thought were possible as a mentee, mentor and professional.

What advice would you give to women who are interested in Becoming a Big Sister? 

Many young women I talk to are nervous about whether their Little will like them or be comfortable around them. Once you get past the initial meeting, you find that you and your Little have so much in common which makes it easy to relate to one another. When you volunteer with BBBSLV, you get to see firsthand how your contribution impacts a child’s life and your community. 

What is the most rewarding experience you have in the BBBSLV program as a Little Sister? Big Sister? Program Specialist? 

While each mentoring relationship is unique, the commonality is that we learn from one another and grow together over time. Looking back, I feel my Big Sister made a significant impact on my career choices. Serving as a mentor and helping others achieve their goals even in the face of hardships and tragedy has not only inspired my professional life but makes me feel like I’m a vital part of changing my community. As an employee, I have the unique privilege to facilitate match moments where girls envision their future based on role models they can see, up close and personal.

This Women’s History Month, Make A Difference in A Young Girl’s Life: Becoming a Big – Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley (bbbslv.org)