"Little" Hands, Big Hearts

It’s impossible to take a trip around the world in a few hours—but that’s exactly what associates and volunteers at our Boston headquarters helped girls from Boston’s underserved neighborhoods do one recent Saturday morning. Our “Big for a Day” event paired Grand Circle employees with “littles” from the Big Sister Association of Boston for five fun themed activities incorporating Grand Circle and OAT destinations.

Students from Mattapan’s East Coast School of Martial Arts taught the “Little Sisters” self-defense techniques and the importance of sticking up for one’s self.

Cookie and cupcake decorating with sprinkles and frosting at the Italy-themed table made for a tasty morning when Big Sisters and “littles” teamed up.

In the Italy corner, colorful sprinkles and frostings kept the cookie-decorating festive, while the beauty beads table, with a Zimbabwean flair, encouraged girls to create jewelry featuring the colors of the flags of their heritage. Our poster contest with a Spanish Picasso slant added a splash of color to the morning, and girls enjoyed exploring and learning about U.S. history as part of our “Every Four Years” scavenger hunt, which incorporated our Grand Circle Travel exhibit on presidential election memorabilia. The China-themed self-defense class packed particular punch, as youth from the East Coast School of Martial Arts flipped, kicked, and put on a stunning show.

At the Zimbabwean table, girls were encouraged to make jewelry with plastic beads to match the colors of the flags of their heritage.

Grand Circle “Big Sister” volunteers, from left: Lianne Hughes, Jessica Haggerty, Gina Van Nortwick, Katrina Cuddy, Erin Lenzing and Cassandra Fuller. Brittany Eason (not pictured) also assisted.

What was even more exciting was to see youth inspiring other youth, especially because the athletes were from Mattapan, one of the three communities (along with Roxbury and Dorchester) served by Grand Circle Foundation’s CollegeWorks initiative to increase graduation rates in Boston. Perhaps more than ever in Boston's inner city, where many children grow up doubting their self-worth, building self-confidence through activities like self-defense and challenging oneself are particularly valuable. Those values, and others like positive mentoring, are the kind encouraged by the Big Sister program, and Grand Circle—on and off the clock. Many thanks to the Boston associates who gave up their weekend to welcome these “little sisters” to the Grand Circle family.

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Do you have a question you’d like to ask me, or comments about the stories featured in Harriet’s Corner? Please email me at harriet@gct.com—and your submission could be featured in the next Harriet’s Corner update. I look forward to sharing what you have to say!