Written by Megan Solberg
Dimercia, 9, and Norinne, a retired Medical Lab Technologist, share a special friendship built on fun-filled activities, delicious treats, and open, honest conversations. Dimercia is quick to talk excitedly about all the activities she loves over a slushy, bright yellow drink: art, math, science, gym, her friends. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up because she likes kids. As she chatters happily about her life, Norinne nods along supportively, adding details that Dimercia might accidentally have skipped over in her excitement about the day.
Norinne and Dimercia became fast friends in May 2018 through the Saskatoon chapter of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program. This non-profit organization builds mentoring relationships between adults and youth, particularly for youth in vulnerable situations who might be facing adversities such as mental health issues, identity issues, or unstable home life conditions. Mentors provide consistent support to help these youth reach their full potential by increasing stability in their lives and by creating shared experiences in safe, non-judgemental environments. Through this support, young people gain the confidence to pursue their goals and achieve their dreams.
Although, as Norinne points out, the benefits of the mentorship relationship go both ways.
“It means I have a really great friend, and I get to do a lot of fun things I wouldn’t normally do.”
She also says, “What do I always say to you, Dimercia? If I’m having a bad week, all I have to do is see you, and everything becomes better.” They exchange happy smiles at this point, and it is clear that Norinne wants to emphasize the impact their friendship has had in her life as well.
Norinne and Dimercia always look forward to hanging out, and it’s easy to understand why. They get together once a week, and the sky is the limit in terms of what they choose for entertainment. They like to watch movies and to go bowling, mini-golfing, and swimming. Sometimes they cook together – they’ve made banana bread, pizza, chocolates, and a gingerbread house. They’re also planning to make pickles because Dimercia loves pickles and Norinne has a family recipe.
Of all the activities they’ve enjoyed together, Dimercia says that Ruckers has to be her favourite because they’ve won candy and free prizes. She bursts out laughing when she remembers their many attempts to win a stuffed animal from a machine, only to have it fall again and again, despite their best efforts.
Both Norinne and Dimercia would recommend Big Brothers Big Sisters to everyone. Norinne loves to hear all about Dimercia’s life. They get the chance to talk about everything, and Dimercia knows she can come to Norinne with any problems she’s facing at school or elsewhere.
Dimercia adds enthusiastically, “I would tell all my friends to join so that they can be happy like me and Norinne!”
Their friendship is sure to include many more movies, cookies, and new adventures in the future, and one thing is absolutely certain: these two will be friends for many years to come. The bond they have is evident in the many laughs they share, the cheerful banter they exchange across the table, and the mutual respect they have for one another. Most importantly, they’ve decided that no matter what happens, they are going to stay friends even after Dimercia has grown up. This is clearly the beginning of a happy, supportive, and genuine life-long friendship.
In 2019, K+S Potash Canada announced their partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Saskatoon, Regina, and Moose Jaw so that they can continue building friendships between adults and youth. This purposeful partnership provides young people in the community access to consistent support and guidance as they pursue their goals and dreams.