by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area, originally published on their blog here.
Fall is fast approaching which means many students are readying themselves for big life transitions such as going off to college. Although it’s exciting, it’s also a time of significant life choices and major change. No one knows that better than Little Sister, Kashari, who has worked hard to get to this stage of life.
In her senior year of high school, Kashari held an internship with the District Attorney’s Justice Academy, kept her grades up, and snagged a Scholarship honor in the process. She also applied to colleges, resulting in quite a few options to choose from! Kashari credits her Big Sister, Julie, with keeping her focused while helping her to be open minded about different ways of thinking and approaching new situations.
In these times of change, it’s important to have someone consistent to rely on. Especially if that comes in the form of a mentor. We asked Kashari to tell us about her experience over the years with her Big Sister and her plans for the future.
Q: How did you become part of Big Brothers Big Sisters?
Kashari: My therapist recommended my mom look into getting a Big Sister. My mom put me and my brother on the waiting list. I can’t remember how long the process took because it was a long time ago — I became a Little Sister in 5th grade and now I’m 17 years old.
Q: I heard you go to school and have a job you must be busy. How do you manage it all?
Kashari: I don’t know how I do it but I’m always involved in something and I’m always thinking about having to do something important, and how to support my family.
Q: Can you tell me a little about your personal interests?
Kashari: Right now I’m doing an internship with the District Attorney’s Justice Academy. I also used to be a cheerleader but since I’m a graduating senior I don’t have to train for next year’s basketball and football seasons.
Q: Tell me about your Big.
Kashari: She’s always happy. I’ve seen her over the years and she’s always smiling. I’ve only seen her sad once or twice in all this time.
Q: Anything else that you like about her?
Kashari: We have more things in common than I would have thought. She loves helping people because she’s a tutor, she works at a high school, and we both love history — well, she loves it more — I like it but she LOVES history. Sometimes we even experience the same things, like with boys, which may seem weird because I’m so much younger but I can talk to her about it. She treats me like she’s my best friend or my sister.
Q: How was the gala where you were honored as an Ezrati Scholar?
Kashari: I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy it because it was long and I was tired. But it was actually fun. I feel proud of myself for getting the award because I worked hard on the essay and application process. I’m glad I received it.
Q: What are your plans for this coming year?
Kashari: I’m going to be going to Florida Memorial University I’m going to major in criminal justice and minor in criminology. I made the decision my senior year to be an FBI agent but there are other things that I’m interested in so that might change but I know that criminology is my focus.
Q: What hopes and dreams do you have for your future, in the years to come?
Kashari: I do want to explore the world. I’ve been in Oakland all my life. Sacramento and Las Vegas are as far as I’ve ever been so I’d like to travel. And I want to be successful, meaning to have things that I own: my own house, my own car… My financial needs won’t be something I have to worry about.
Q: Has your Big Sister influenced those dreams in any way?
Kashari: I don’t know how she does it but she’s always on a trip somewhere (maybe the last one was Mexico or Spain?) for school or vacation or for family. That has inspired me to explore the world. And she didn’t influence me to be an FBI agent but she pushes me to be more open, open-minded beyond one way of doing things or one way of thinking about something.
Going off to college, and with plans to explore the world, Kashari has many adventures ahead. With the support of her Big Sister, Julie, and caring adults in her life, Kashari’s hard work is getting positive results. As she embarks on a career in criminology, it helps to know her Big Sister is cheering her on. This relationship has had a lasting impact, supporting Kashari through exciting times of transition, that are likely to lead her further along paths of success.