LCC Student Is ‘Big Sister’ Of The Year
Ask Kendra Chong what her hobbies are, and the first thing she’ll tell you is “volunteering.” In fact, her dream is to start her own nonprofit organization one day. It’s no surprise, then, that the Leeward Community College student was recently recognized as 2014 Oahu School-based Big Sister of the Year by Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaii.
“From the first year that I’ve ever done it, I knew that I wanted to be in this program for a long time,” Chong said.
This is her third year with BBBS, as she has been with the organization since she was a junior at Aiea High School.
Staying with the program post-graduation was a no-brainer for Chong.
“People graduate, go off to college; it’s hard for them to continue it. For me, personally, I absolutely love this program so much, I couldn’t leave,” Chong said. “I don’t believe you have to stop once you graduate; it’s community service, it can be continued.”
Based at Pearl Ridge Elementary School, Chong works weekly with Dillon, her Little Brother.
“When I first met him, he was really shy and soft-spoken … Being with him for two years, I’ve seen him grow so much,” she said.
Chong and Dillon focus on his homework, do a variety of activities and play games during their meetings. Chong, with a laugh, recalled Dillon putting “110 percent” into building model airplanes recently.
“He really wants everything to be at its best. He’s just such a great kid,” Chong said.
Still, she’ll insist that it’s the mentors who benefit from working with the kids.
“The No. 1 thing I’ve learned is that people think that the mentors are the ones who are impacting the kids the most — and it’s true, of course. That’s why we want to do it, and it’s what pushes us to help these kids and participate in these programs. But … the kids have so much more impact on us than others realize.”
For now, Chong will continue to pursue her career goal of becoming a social studies teacher, and she’s looking forward to another year with Dillon as his Big Sister.