I rocked the house at the talent show
Little Sister Tiffany was first matched with Big Sister Niki Hinton when she was just eight years old. Tiffany found out about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa (BBBSCI) programs from someone at her school, and her mom immediately put her on the waiting list for a Big Sister. The program proved to be a great fit for Tiffany, whose mom was raising her and her three siblings alone
Initially, Tiffany was very shy, but over time she began opening up to Niki and they became very comfortable with each other. One fond memory of time spent together is singing their best rendition of their favorite songs while riding in the car. When Niki would ask Tiffany what she wanted to do when she grew up, Tiffany always said, “be a singer.” The pair spent a lot of time talking about school, grades and her favorite classes, and Niki took every opportunity to stress the importance of good grades and going to college.
“Tiffany is a great kid,” says Niki. “She was pretty shy, but smart and capable. It was so fun to watch her grow over the years and see her do well in school. I wanted to help her see college as the next natural step after high school, but also to understand that it would take consistent good grades for that to happen.”
In 2009, after being matched for five years, the two ended their match because Niki moved to San Francisco. Tiffany was 13 at the time, but they have stayed in touch ever since. Tiffany recently sent Niki an update on her life that was so impressive, Niki reached out to the BBBSCI office to share.
Now living in Maryland, Little Sister Tiffany is still focused on her dream of being a singer. She has held a part-time waitressing job throughout high school which has enabled her to save enough money to attend a choir trip during her junior year. She is even working to save money to travel to China after she graduates high school where she will teach English for a year.
Tiffany was also chosen as one of only seven acts to participate in her high school’s talent show. “My voice has gotten so much better and continues to progress every day,” says Tiffany. “I rocked the house at the talent show!”
Tiffany shared a story in her own words about how others are also inspired by her singing: “So every year the choir goes on a spring trip to compete and I went last year and paid $500 dollars with my own money because that’s how much it is. This year I decided I couldn’t go…I am trying to save money for everything and $500 was just too much. So a week ago, after class my teacher tells me he needs to talk to so we go into his office. I honestly thought I was in trouble, I was so scared. Then I hear him say 'What do I have to do to get you to go on this trip?' Then I told him all about my plans for China and how expensive it is and how I’m trying to save my work money. Then I hear him say, 'What if I paid for half?' I was so shocked that he would spend $250 out of his own pocket so I could go.”
Tiffany says she is so happy to have been paired with Niki. “She really did teach me a lot. I used to be so shy and now I love to socialize!” Tiffany also commented on her experience with BBBSCI, “I support Big Brothers Big Sisters so much! It seriously helped me a lot when I didn’t really have much to do...especially (with) my mom being a single mother and all. Getting to do outside activities and having someone to look up to as a role model has helped so much!”
Niki was thrilled to find out that Tiffany will be graduating high school in May with a 3.6 GPA and plans to attend college after teaching English in China. “Tiffany will be the first person in her family to attend college,” says Niki. “She has been so self-motivated and really followed through on her dreams. I am beyond proud of her!”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa’s mentors, like Niki, are helping children, like Tiffany, realize their potential and follow their dreams.