Right now, youth are faced with unprecedented challenges and acting on information overload. Tanya Holtz, a Big Sister at Schupan, is finding meaningful ways to escape with her Little Sister Alahna through art and creativity.
“Art is an escape from stress for both us,” Tanya explained. “It helps us convey feelings we might not know how to express verbally.”
As Tanya’s office closed back in March and the Bigs in Business program transitioned online, Tanya started thinking about the other Littles in the Schupan program.
“I was looking for activities to send to my Little and realized that there are other kids out there in the program that might be going through an emotional time,” Tanya said.
Tanya then started organizing art care packages to send to Littles and their families.
“It helps process their feelings, but also gives them something to do on a rainy day,” Tanya described. “Or maybe even a tough day at home where they just need an emotional release.”
And the feedback has been nothing short of phenomenal.
“Maleah really enjoyed the art pack,” exclaimed parent, Melanie. “Thank you so much for providing this!”
Others excitedly anticipated their art packs.
“Emma loves doing art,” said parent, Kay. “We’re looking forward to receiving the package of art materials!”
While you could call this going the extra mile, for Tanya, it reaffirms that Bigs in Business is not just about business.
“The program keeps us in touch with the needs of the community,” Tanya advocated. “Not only are we meeting with our Little but we also do group activities and get to know all about them. It doesn’t just benefit the Littles, it also benefits the Bigs. There is a sense of accomplishment in knowing you’ve made a difference.”
When asked about what her thoughts were about mentoring, Tanya admits that it takes effort.
“If you enjoy seeing that ‘lightbulb’ turn on when you’ve connected or helped them bring a grade up in school just by being there to talk to them, it’s definitely worth it! The challenge is most definitely worth the reward.”
Like art, mentoring requires patience, taking chances, and sometimes making mistakes along the way. In the end, mentoring paints a bigger picture: assisting youth in unlocking their potential and creating their own future. Thank you, Tanya, for helping ignite it.