Ellen & Montse: The Gift of Opportunity

Together, they were able to break the cycle. Little Sister Montse is the first in her family to finish high school, and attend college. And her Big Sister Ellen has been there beside her all along the way. Attending college is a goal that Montse has had since the two were matched in 2014. A goal that required her to overcome many obstacles, including changing schools and homes frequently, and, at one point, being homeless, as her family had to live with extended family.

Activities and outings with her Big Sister provided Montse with positive ways to escape the stresses of her day-to-day world. At the same time, her Big Sister was there to offer encouragement and to suggest options for her future.

“I hope that Montse feels like she has gained a lifelong supporter, cheerleader, and advisor,” said Ellen. “I have seen her confidence grow from a very dark place to one of hope and strength. She has learned about asking for help, advocating for herself, and setting, and meeting, goals.”

Montse is currently attending Kalamazoo University on a full-ride scholarship. She is also the recipient of a BBBS scholarship.

“Ultimately, as BBBS’ name suggests, I have gained a sister. Montse and I have created a relationship that is as true as blood relatives,” said Ellen. “She has shown me strength and resilience that I have never seen before, and I consider it an honor that she enjoys being around me and asking for advice, even as she is excelling at everything she does.”

During their match, Ellen and Monste created a special tradition. After discovering their shared love of food, they began taking road trips to San Antonio every year on Montse’s birthday to go to Lulu’s Café, home of the delicious 3-pound cinnamon roll. They also enjoy talking, strolls along the River Walk, and exploring.

I never understood the importance of making an impact on one person’s life so deeply until I got involved with BBBS,” said Ellen. “People want to save the world, but I think helping one person is so much more powerful. I can’t save the world, but I can help Montse change hers… and that’s significant.”

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