Amanda HydenBig Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma
|Edmond resident Amanda Hyden, a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma, receives an Outstanding Mentor Award from Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Chairman David L. Boren (left) and President Anil Gollahalli during Oklahoma Mentor Day at the Capitol. (Photo by Travis Caperton, Oklahoma State Capitol)
Amanda and her Little Sister Kelly, now a high school senior, recently celebrated the eight-year anniversary of their match. Hayley Garrison, vice president of programs for Big Brothers Big Sisters Oklahoma, said Amanda has been a constant source of support and encouragement for her Little Sister through good times and bad.
“From the very beginning of her match, Amanda has always been very invested in the life of her Little Sister,” Hayley said. “Even though times weren’t always easy, as Big Sister witnessed Little Sister be taken away from home and put into foster care, Amanda never gave up and always made her match a priority in her life.”
Amanda has spent this past year helping Kelly find scholarships to apply for and has talked to her about finances and the tough choices that will come with college life, Hayley said. Amanda took Kelly’s senior pictures and prom pictures and put together her Senior Salute for her high school yearbook. She has available to answer Kelly’s phone calls at any hour of the day or night.
“Just as Amanda has been there for Kelly’s rough times, she’s been there for the achievements as well, from Kelly being reunited with her family, to making the varsity cheer squad, and now applying for colleges such as OU, Baylor, and Rice University,” Hayley said. “She not only will witness Kelly graduate from high school with straight As, but has helped her fill out applications for college. She has not only stood alongside her, but has been her advocate, friend, sister, and role model.”
During her final annual match support meeting, Amanda became teary eyed reflecting on her years as Kelly’s Big Sister and said there is no doubt that she and Kelly will be in each other’s lives forever, even as Kelly ages out of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. She and Kelly are already planning to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their match with a trip to Florida. She looks forward to Kelly being a Big Sister someday so she can become a “Grandma Big.”
“Amanda wants Kelly to know that anything is possible and the choices she makes now will impact her future,” Hayley said. “Amanda made a big commitment to Kelly in November of 2007 and plans on continuing that commitment for the rest of her life. To me, this truly represents the ideal relationship for which this organization strives.”