By Marco Villarreal , WVLT
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. There’s a new program coming to East Tennessee meant to help more high school students get to and graduate from college.
Meet Keidre and Abby. They’re sisters.
“Our anniversary is coming up and that will be four years. Our friendship anniversary,” says Abby Berry.
A friendship forged through Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee.
For four years the duo have done a lot.
“The first anniversary she took me to a baseball game. She took me to the salon, and I got my hair redone. She takes me to different new places that I’ve never been before. We went paddle boarding and I had never done that before, and she has. That was new. That was really new for me,” says Abby.
Keidre is also there during the hard times.
“When I was going through the stages of middle school. Like depression, and helping me a lot, and she’s fun to be with,” says Abby.
Now Abby is going to be a freshman at South Dole High School.
“So that’s really awesome. She’ll be with me all the way until graduation, and we’ll still have fun together. I’m really excited,” says Abby.
Thanks to a new program called Mentor 2.0. Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee is one of fourteen chapters in the nation launching this new program. The only one in the state.
“This is just a once a week communication; online with a student, talking about their futures, and talking about their favorite topics, and then an event once a month at the school,” says Whitney Baker with Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee.
Every week the Little’s will learn a new lesson at school and then check in online with their matched up Big’s for the next four years.
“Social skills, how to advocate for yourself, time management, goal setting, Everything that they need to be successful in life,” says Baker.
Mentors can even access an online platform through a smart phone. A small time commitment with the hope of big results.
“Eight years from now we’re going to know how many students from this first class at South Doyle actually graduated college,” says Baker.
For Keidre and Abby, this means 4 more years of friendship, laughs, and life lessons.
“It’s really going to help through high school years which is a lot different than middle school. To work towards being that independent adult, and successful and working towards your goals,” says Keidre.
This pairing made with Volunteer Spirit is exactly that: #lifegoals.
“I love her so much,” says Abby.
—Marco Villarreal , WVLT News Channel 8