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Campus girls’ mentorship program celebrates 14 years

Sister to Sister is a program dedicated to creating a bond between junior high and high school girls in hopes they can advance and mature, mentally and spiritually. The girls first gathering is Sept. 26.

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

Sister to Sister mentors meet with junior high girls on an off-campus lunch during a meeting last school year.

Started sometime in 2004 by former campus teacher Molly Sargent, who ran the program for seven years, Sister to Sister is now led by Katie Reneau who took over the program in 2016.

Junior high teacher Hallie Rojeski took over the program in the fall of 2011, handing the program off to Reneau after the spring 2016 semester.

Rojeski’s favorite stories about the program include relating how a student who had a heart condition was not physically strong enough to walk off campus for lunch.

Accommodations were made to ensure both the younger and her older sister who wanted to be in the Sister to Sister program and get the full experience. Later, the FC administration worked with these two girls to arrange transportation over to the local restaurant so they could join the other groups of girls.

“You know, it doesn’t matter who you are or what your situation is,” Rojeski said. “Sister to Sister has value and the two girls wanted to be in it and we made it work for them.”

Originally Sargent taught a peer counseling class and encouraged class members to get involved in a mentorship program with junior high students. She bridged the gap between the junior high and high school girls. Each sophomore, junior or senior girl paired up with a seventh or eighth grader and together they go to lunch and talk once every other week.

Reneau initially began to lead the program as a way to become involved in the Fresno Christian community outside of her junior high math class. Going into her second year, she hopes for growth in numerous ways.

“My goal for Sister to Sister is simple: Growth,” Reneau said. “Not just numerically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well. I pray that our sister pairs grow and mature together.”

Reneau’s ambition is that both groups of students will recognize and seize the opportunity in front of them.

“I hope that our little sisters understand the opportunity in front of them,” Reneau said. “Having a high school companion that intentionally sets aside time to give of themselves, their time, talents and treasures to pour into them. Just as importantly, I expect our older sisters to see the opportunity in front of them as well. They have a junior high student who is ready and eager to learn from them.”

Reneau has been praying for maturity for the current 74 girls enrolled in the program.

“Above all, I pray for spiritual maturity for our students,” Reneau said. “This is a tall task, especially for the older sisters, as they are the ones that the younger sisters want to hear from the most.”

Natalya Hill, ‘18, has already dedicated two years as an older sister to the program.

“I want to instill a healthy Christian lifestyle into my younger sister and motivate them to achieve their goals,” Hill said.

“One time I was having a hard time with a friend,” Hill continued. “I, as an older sister casually mentioned the hardship, not expecting anything to come of it. However, later that night, my younger sister texted me telling me that everything was going to be great and it taught me that it’s not just a teaching experience for me but also a learning experience.”

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

Sister to Sister’s first meeting is Sept. 26, at lunch in Room 627. Last year’s meeting often took the girls off campus to local restaurants that are within walking distance of school.

Junior higher Ashley Sciacqua, ‘22,  is most excited to meet her older sister for this year and hopes to grow spiritually close with her and get to know her well.

“I am looking forward to having an older sister I can trust,” Sciacqua said.

The Sister to Sister program has proven itself to be highly successful in the past. This year should be no different.

Sister to Sister’s next meeting is Sept. 26, at lunch in Room 627, and there is still room for more girls to sign up. The boys also have a program called Brother to Brother which is organized by junior high teacher Terry Richards. Boys can still sign up for that program in Room 629.

For more articles, read Mark Whitacre charges students to lead lives of significance. For more articles on Brother to Brother, read Brother to Brother promotes Manliness Conference, provides mentors.

This author can be reached via twitter @toryntriplitt and email: Toryn Triplitt.

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