Emma and Equasia
Big Brothers Big Sisters
In 2006 Emma was beginning a new chapter of her life. She had just come to Ithaca from her hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and was starting her freshman year at Cornell. This is also when she was paired with Equasia, an 8-year-old living with her grandmother. Although they couldn't have known it then, they would build an enduring friendship that would last for years; the type of friendship that can withstand a number of challenges (including the time Emma sprained her ankle while walking down a slippery hill in winter to pick up Equasia.) Even without a car, Emma and Equasia stuck together for the entire 4 years that Emma studied at Cornell. When asked to describe a typical outing Emma said, "Our favorite places to go are the Science Center, the bowling alley, and the public library, so (in winter especially) we often go to one of those places. I pick Equasia up from her classroom after school and we walk to wherever we have decided to go for the day. Sometimes we stay at one place for the whole time, but if it's nice outside we like to walk around, go window shopping, or play on the playground, too. After two hours or so, I walk Equasia home and catch the bus back up the hill." The two discovered that no matter what they were always having a good time.
After about 2 years the pair knew their fun times would have to put on hold while Emma studied in Spain for a year. This did not mean, however, that they had to fall out of contact; while Emma was gone the two kept up on each other's lives through emails and phone calls. Equasia even sent Emma a stuffed animal for each holiday that they couldn't spend together. When Emma returned, their good times picked up right where they left off. Although senior year was stressful, Equasia made sure that Emma was having fun, no matter how bogged down with essays and exams she was.
Emma knows that some of the biggest lessons can be learned during these seemingly small moments together. Mentors like Emma have to have inspiration to play such an important role in the life of a child.
We asked Emma about the coolest thing an adult ever did for her when she was a child and she gave us this story, "In elementary school, after I came home and finished my homework, I would race over to the house next door. My neighbor, a retired woman who lived alone, would always be outside gardening. I liked standing and talking to her about my life while she worked. She always liked listening and she asked good questions. When my birthday came around, she bought me my own kids set of gardening tools so I could help her. We would stay outside for hours working on her garden together. I will never forget those times and what I learned from her."