A positive influence on a child or teen can make a world of difference in their future.
Age is just a number when it comes to volunteering your time to shape young minds.
As a teen, Terry Sanford could point to a number of role models in her life. Naturally, it felt right to give back.
“You find out what you have in common and go from there,” Sanford said. “I’ve got a lifetime of experience I’ve had those ups and downs and we really have a good time. I learn a lot and stay in touch with youth culture as you will.”
Through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas, Sanford was paired with Katie Snyder.
They connected over their mutual interest in theatre.
“The music, the expression, the emotion, and the energy — how people find themselves through this creative outlet. I know that music is big for me, and seeing people on stage perform what they feel and the words they are singing, it’s something big to me. It’s something I really enjoy,” Snyder said.
There’s a noticeable age difference between the two. They consider it an advantage.
“I’m the vintage big sister,” Sanford said. “Very interesting to hear her perspective. Teenagers are so much more knowledgable than I was at that age, and it’s fun,” Sanford said.
Once a week Sanford and Snyder find an activity to enjoy, whether it’s seeing a musical at the Walton Arts Center, or heading outdoors to stay active.
“It’s more of like, ‘hey Katie, want to go take the kayaks out?’ Go kayak a mile or so, and we’ll go and walk around and check out parks and stuff like that,” Snyder said.
And after two years, their bond keeps growing.
“I would just encourage people to get involved. As a volunteer, I swear I get more out of it than Katie does. but also Katie has a great time. It’s meaningful and rewarding and gets us old people out of the house,” Sanford said.
Volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas are always welcome.
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