Graduation is a BIG Deal!
Paula came to BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS seeking support shortly after her parents' divorced; the culmination of years of drug abuse and domestic violence by her father. Paula was looking for a positive person to spend time with and hoping to try new things as she entered the 6th grade. Paula told us she had no positive person, not a single role model to look up to.
Paula was matched with Alane! She entered middle school full of hope and excitement to learn new things and have new experiences. Unfortunately, many more obstacles appeared, more than she could have ever expected.

As she entered high school, Paula's mom started seeing a new boyfriend who did not appreciate Paula's disapproval of their lifestyle. The relationship between Paula and her mother deteriorated to the point where her mother chose her boyfriend over Paula and kicked Paula out of the house. She was now a freshman in high school. From there, Paula sought refuge with her father, his girlfriend and their brand new baby. The family decided to move to West Virginia, during her sophomore year and she decided to go with them. The move resulted in her missing most of the school year. After a couple of months in West Virginia Paula and her father's girlfriend woke one morning to find her father had left in the middle of the night, taking all of their money and abandoning them. It took a GoFund me campaign to help get the remaining family back to Central Oregon. Having nowhere to go after being abandoned by both parents, Paula tried to live with her father's ex-girlfriend. Paula couldn’t stay and eventually ended up at The Loft; a homeless shelter for teens. Paula lived at The Loft for 2 years! It became her home, the most stable and positive living environment that she had ever experienced.

Through all of her moves and abandonment, Paula's mentor, Alane, was there. Alane was the most consistent person in her life throughout her middle and high school years. Paula says that it was Alane who taught her about the importance of education; persistently encouraging her to be and do her best. Paula says, "I turn 18 this year and I'm looking forward to finishing high school, going to college, getting a place of my own, and living a simple, happy life. I am thankful to Alane for encouraging me to be my best, achieve my goals and for standing by me no matter what".

Without a BIG SISTER to mentor and encourage Paula and be a consistent, positive person in her life, it would have been easy for Paula to give up her goals. For kids like Paula the obstacles are often too high and the encouraging people in their life too few. We are so proud of Paula and her accomplishments, and thankful to Alane for standing by her and always being there to encourage her.

Thank you to everyone who has already donated to the ‘Graduation is a BIG DEAL’ campaign! The resilient graduates we are celebrating deserve our support and recognition. If you have not already, please join me in congratulating Paula and ensuring more youth like her don't have to face the challenges of graduation alone! Please donate now.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Of Central Oregon
2125 NE Daggett Ln. Bend, Oregon 9770 1
Call: (541) 312-6047