2022 NJ Big Sister of the Year Kathy
& Little of the Year Lu

Big and Little
Have you ever been on a roller coaster, sitting next to someone, hands in the air, yelling with joy, full of excitement and a bit of fear anticipating the twist, turn, or flip? You get to the end of the ride and you glance at the person sitting next to you. For a brief moment, both of your expressions have a sense of fulfillment, adrenaline, and relief. That’s what comes to mind when reflecting on the ride that Lu and Kathy have been on throughout their match.

Until just a few months ago, Lu was known as LuLu. A 16-year-old female, who had experienced so much in such a short time. Now, Lu is a resilient, intelligent, mature human, who identifies as transgender and uses the pronouns of they/them and he/him.

Kathy and Lu have known each other for six years. When they started their journey in Big Brothers Big Sisters, they were a pretty ordinary match. They would go bowling, to the movies, or eat at their favorite restaurant, Applebee’s. They formed a very strong bond, very quickly.

Big and Little
Lu was adopted by his grandparents at two months old, and they raised him as their own. When Lu was 12 years old, his grandmother passed away, and it hit him hard. Lu was still processing the grief of his loss when he discovered the truth about his identity. This series of events snowballed into a range of emotions and feelings. Kathy stood by Lu and supported him through everything, holding Lu’s hand in the air through all of life’s twists and turns.

There have been many more highs and lows throughout this match. Lu eventually found the strength to tell Kathy that he is transgender, and Kathy was nothing but curious and kind.

Together, Kathy and Lu have volunteered at many Big Brothers Big Sisters events, speaking to the community about their experience in our program. Possibly the most important thing, however, is that they show up - for one another and for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

It is evident that Kathy has helped shape Lu into the person he is today. Lu is a happy, healthy teenager, with a passion for acting/directing, and a dream of becoming a mortician. Kathy and Lu are nearing the end of their ride at Big Brothers Big Sisters, but there is no doubt that they will continue to grow their relationship, as they now consider one another family. Every match is special, but the roller coaster that they have been on together has evolved past mentoring into a lifelong bond. We are happy to honor and celebrate them for everything they’ve accomplished and achieved for and with one another.