Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cumberland & Salem Counties names Arlene Maggioncalda as the 2022 Big Sister of the Year. Just over ten years ago, Arlene was matched with Trinity in the school-based program, and they have been friends ever since. Arlene has continued to offer guidance and support through the years and is looking forward to many years of friendship and growth to come.
The first year, Arlene and Trinity met every morning and at lunchtime, developing a tight bond. By the next summer, Arlene and Trinity expanded their match to include visits outside of school so they could do more together. She taught Trinity how to establish boundaries and how to appropriately interact with classmates and friends, leading to a spike in self-confidence. As Trinity changed schools and moved around, Arlene continued to take her to lunches and dinners. They spent days at the beach and went shopping together. By December 2016, Arlene and Trinity’s match moved to Community Based Mentoring since they could no longer meet at school. Arlene continued to support Trinity in her academics and offered advice as she navigated middle school and began the transition to high school. Trinity has become more confident and maintains an after-school job.
Trinity shared, “She [Arlene] has taught me how to handle the things that are out of my control. I have learned to take a step back to think about my situation and control my emotions in a positive way. Arlene encourages me to go and be myself around people. My future is still uncertain, but I do know one thing: Arlene will be there, and she will support me through it all.”
Trinity’s mother has always encouraged Trinity’s friendship with Arlene. She was grateful that Trinity could get out of the house to do fun things while she worked and went back to school to provide for the family.
“She [Trinity] continues to weigh her options for her future, and Arlene helps point her in the right direction. She supports what I am trying to teach Trinity and pushes Trinity in a good way. Trinity can talk to her about things she does not want to talk to me about, and I am glad Trinity has her.”
Arlene believes that she has made a difference in Trinity’s life, and shares that Trinity has had a positive impact on her life as well “We have had many conversations about asking for help when she needs it. Arlene has shared that Trinity is resilient, kind, and caring, she will always be a part of our family b.”