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Meet a Match - Big Sister Kristin Zatwarnicki & Little Sister Mariana

From the moment that Big Sister Kristin met Little Sister Mariana, she knew that Mariana, even at just nine years old, has a bright future. Upon their first “match meeting” in 2018, Kristin recalled Mariana as sweet, quiet, and above all else, curious. “She was the sweetest kid ever— and so smart! She was also so quiet,” says Big Sister Kristin.

Mariana and Kristin immediately hit it off. Together, they’ve gone on ice cream outings, perused the Detroit Institute of Arts, and enjoyed mini golf, just to name a few of the many activities they have enjoyed together.

Most notably, they have attended special sporting events that have allowed Mariana to begin to break out of her shell. “We went to a lot of Big Brothers Big Sisters sponsored events and we got to watch a women’s basketball game,” Kristin shared. “We got to meet and high five the team and she really enjoyed it.”

This first breakthrough allowed Kristin to encourage Mariana to further find her voice. “She’s had some anxiety around school,” recalls Kristin. “I would help her plan ahead so she would feel less of this anxiety about homework and attending school.”

Through this work, Kristin has helped Mariana find her passion in reading and become the top student in her class. She hopes to encourage Mariana to allocate this passion into college in the future. “I am an engineer,” stated Kristin, “So after introducing some science activities, she has expressed some interest in engineering. But she also really loves art. Ultimately, I hope I can help her feel more confident in herself and feel like she can do whatever she wants to do ”

With college in the not so distant future, Kristin hopes to be a source of positivity in Mariana’s life. “Hanging out with Mariana is one of my favorite things. She can forget about whatever's happening at home or at school and we can just hang out. I love that I can be that supportive person.”

Mario & Aaron