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Elizabeth: A Mentor’s Journey of Empowerment and Connection

In 1988 a remarkable bond was created that would positively shape the lives of two individuals. Elizabeth, a proud Ottawa native and the fifth of six siblings, found herself drawn to the idea of mentorship, a calling rooted in the rich tapestry of her upbringing.

Growing up in a nurturing dual-parent home, Elizabeth not only benefited from her parents’ guidance but also found invaluable support from her three older sisters. Their collective wisdom and encouragement inspired Elizabeth to pay it forward, to extend a hand of guidance to someone who could benefit from her own life experiences.

Enter Tara, an eight-year-old girl with an infectious spirit and a world of potential. Tara, raised by her single mother, sought the kind of mentorship her older brother had found as a mentee with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa (BBBSO), recognizing the transformative power of a supportive adult in a young person’s life.   Tara and Elizabeth were matched through BBBSO, embarking on a journey spanning a decade.

For ten years, Elizabeth served as more than just a mentor; she became a steadfast companion, confidante, and role model to Tara. Together, they navigated life’s ups and downs, celebrating triumphs and weathering challenges with unwavering support and understanding. Their bond grew stronger each year, fueled by shared experiences and a mutual commitment to growth and empowerment.

As Tara approached the age at the time when young people transitioned out of the program, Elizabeth realized the profound impact mentorship had on shaping lives during those critical formative years. Recognizing the importance of continued support beyond the teen years, she embraced the extended mentorship program, which now spans up to 24 years of age. 

After decades of when Elizabeth and Tara’s mentorship were completed, Elizabeth still feels compelled to give back to BBBSO which had brought so much joy and fulfillment into her life. Becoming a BBBSO monthly matchmaker, she pledged her support to ensure that more matches like hers and Tara’s could be made, providing guidance and support to young people striving to reach their full potential.

Elizabeth’s fondest memory remains the heartfelt moment when Tara expressed the profound impact her guidance had on her life. Despite the passage of time, their bond remains unbreakable, with occasional coffee dates serving as cherished opportunities to reconnect and reminisce.

As Elizabeth and Tara’s story illustrates, mentorship is not just about guidance; it’s about creating lasting connections, instilling confidence, and empowering individuals to realize their full potential. By investing in BBBSO mentorship, we invest in a brighter, more inclusive future, where every young person has the support and encouragement they need to succeed.  

Thank you, Elizabeth for sharing your story and for being a BBBSO Believer.