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Big Brothers Big Sisters nurture children and strengthen communities with the help of mentors

Julie Ryan was having a rough day and needed to escape her bad mood. One afternoon in 2006 while reading a copy of Coffee News, Julie discovered an advertisement for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington and realized she needed to make a difference in someone’s life.

A few days later, Julie interviewed to become a big sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington, and was matched with her first little sister, Tasia, age 14. The program’s mission is to help children reach their full potential through one-on-one relationships. Matched mentors spend time with their little sister/brother playing a positive role and providing measureable impacts.

“Everyone experiences rough patches in their lives,” said Julie. “I was able to use what I learned during my own difficulties to help a shy teenager become the amazing and talented young woman she is today.”

Julie and Tasia’s relationship blossomed into a lasting friendship despite the end of their official match when Tasia graduated. “Tasia just turned 21 and we’re still close,” said Julie. “I told her our friendship doesn’t end when you turn 18.” Although Julie is no longer Tasia’s mentor, she continues to preserve their strong bond. Tasia attended Julie’s wedding as her maid of honor and they continue to stay in contact regularly.

This year, Julie looks forward to making another lasting connection with her new little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington. “I encourage others to become mentors, too,” said Julee. “It may seem intimidating, but it only takes a couple of hours to make a huge difference in a person’s life.” She added that being a mentor is a fun and heartwarming experience. “If you have the time, you should put it in,” said Julie.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington strives to provide a mentor for every child who needs or wants one. The organization operates under the belief that every child has the ability to succeed and thrive in life. Children from all walks of life are looking for a mentor. There is currently a high demand for Big Brothers, with approximately 40 little brothers waiting to be matched. It only takes a few hours. Become a mentor today and make a difference. To learn more, visit or