December 2011 Vision Event Stories

The Tenacio Family

The Tenacios moved to the US in hopes of finding better medical assistance for their daughter, Lily, who has cerebral palsy. In that process, they realized their son, Emilio, was being left out of many normal things that a child should experience and deserves.

Lily couldn’t handle loud noises, a lot of lights or being in certain natural elements. As they called around for different services, they were turned away because they didn’t always qualify. When they called Big Brothers Big Sisters, it was evident that Emilio was the right fit for the program.

With Lauren, his Big Sister, Emilio finally had someone who could be “just for him.” He was able to go to fun activities with his Lauren, and had the one-on-one attention that his parents just couldn’t give him because Lily required so much of their time and energy. His Big Sister became the support the whole family needed.

As their friendship grew, Emilio flourished and the guilt lifted from his parents. Emilio is a caring brother to Lily, loves her and understands she needs so much. It is because of that understanding and love within their family that Emilio feels so appreciative to his parents and Big Brothers Big Sisters for his own Big Sister.

Samaria and Tausha

Most children are nurtured by loving parents who help them develop self-confidence and believe in their potential. Growing up, Samaria’s mother always told her she was “ugly,” “worthless” and “a mistake.” She had never met her dad, and her mother didn’t stick around for long. Her grandmother gave her a bed to sleep in and a roof over her head, but not the love and support a child should receive from her family.

When she was 15, she moved to Florida, and entered the foster care system. She struggled in school and became depressed, thinking she would never make anything of herself. Before her 18th birthday, she was enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County’s Inspire Within program, designed for young adults like Samaria who need help finding independence and developing life skills.

Soon, Samaria was matched to Tausha Robertson, her Big Sister. Though it took a while to gain Samaria’s trust – she’d been let down by every adult before – Tausha patiently waited for their friendship to bloom, and it did. Tausha taught Samaria that nothing in life comes easy, you have to work hard for success.

Samaria is now 23 years old and sees Tausha weekly. She is continuing with college, has kept a job at a law firm for three years and wants to pursue a law degree. Far beyond the role of a volunteer mentor, Tausha has taught Samaria how to love, what it means to have family, and how to surmount the odds and achieve success. And thanks to the love and support she has from her Big Sister, Tausha, Samaria is now a Big Sister and mentor to another Inspire Within teen who reminds her much of herself when she entered the program.