It’s a fact: the average mom is neither “perky” nor “enthusiastic” 24/7.
Bills, housework and other responsibilities sometimes take away the fun — and that’s where people like Jeanne Bean step in.
The 52-year-old signed up with Big Brothers Big Sisters four years ago. She’ll be named Big Sister of the Year in a ceremony at City Hall today because of the strong bond she’s developed with her “Little”, Maegan Costa.
“If I have to choose my favourite thing about her I’d say it is her perkiness or enthusiasm,” the 16-year-old said of her “Big”. “Every time I see her she is really perky and ready to conquer the day.
“Most of the time when Jeanne and I hang out, we talk about what type of mood I’m in and see what’s best that day to improve it. We usually go out to breakfast or lunch, depending on the time, and talk; there’s more talking than actually eating going on. We also take pedal bike rides or go for walks.”
Mrs Bean initially planned to become a foster parent but once her three children were out of the way, the Saltus Cavendish school director found she had too many commitments to take on the full-time role.
She decided to become a mentor. “She’s always there for me and is understanding,” the Berkeley Institute student told The Royal Gazette.
“She comforts me when I tell her about issues going on and when I need someone to talk to other than my family. Even with her busy schedule, she always finds time for me.”
Mrs Bean said she was honoured to be recognised.
“I remember our case worker giving me a few profiles to look at and then she pulled out a file and said this young lady has been on the waiting list for a while but we’ve not found her a match,” she said. “As soon as she said that, I said, ‘Well that is the one for me’.
“From the first day I met Meagan we have connected and the relationship has only grown positively since then.
“Even though Maegan often tells me how much she appreciates me, it’s truly an honour to be selected as a result of her gratitude.
“I wish nothing but the best for Maegan as she endeavours to do and give her best in all situations.”
Maegan joined the programme at 12 because she was going through a hard time at school.
She had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and felt few of her classmates wanted to get to know her.
Her mother Lucy Costa said: “I initially involved Maegan with the BBBS programme because I was concerned about her emotional state.
“She had a difficult time making friends, so she tended to keep to herself. Her self-esteem was really poor and this was reflected in her schoolwork and her outlook on life in general.
“As her parent, I was really sad for her. Her dad and I did our best to help her but we felt she needed more.”
Maegan is now more confident than ever and her grades have massively improved.
“She’s been on the honour roll since the beginning of S2 and also has a few good friends she hangs out more with,” Mrs Costa said.
“She also volunteers with the DREAM Girls Club, which mentors young girls on Saturdays.”
She loves that her daughter has someone else to look up to. Whenever there’s an issue Mrs Bean works with the family to come up with the best solution for Maegan.
“What’s so special about Maegan is her big heart and how she sees the good in everyone,” Mrs Bean said. “Now that she’s 16 and riding a motorbike I now feel like a worried mom of a teenager all over again.”
•Matthew Trott will also be recognised during today’s 12.30pm ceremony for his work mentoring 12-year-old TreJon Jeffries. For more information on the mentoring programme, visit Facebook ‘Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bermuda’ or Twitter — @BBBSBDA