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When Big Sister Lisa and Little Sister Shanyah are together, they aren’t staring at their phones or watching a screen.

Lisa has made it her to goal to ensure that the time they spend together strengthens their relationship. To that end, she plans activities that actively engage both Big and Little Sister.  

One of those activities is crafts. Lisa shared her love of arts and crafts with Shanyah, and now crafts are a central part of their relationship. The pair has painted flowerpots, decorated Easter eggs, created jewelry and even made bubble gum. Lisa said the activities give them a chance to do something fun and constructive while being engaged with each other. The crafts also provide souvenirs of their time together.

Crafting has another benefit, too. “Having a creative outlet has built Shanyah’s confidence,” Lisa said.  “When you’re painting a flower pot, there is no right or wrong way to do it.”  Shanyah enjoys the chance to create something shaped by her own tastes.

Arts and crafts have played an important role in their relationship even when they’re apart. When Shanyah was away at summer camp, Lisa wrote a letter on a jigsaw puzzle. Shanyah had to put the puzzle together to read the letter. “She was very excited to receive something more than a regular letter,” Lisa said.

“My goal is to have a completely electronics-free mentor relationship,” Lisa said. “So far, I’ve been successful with that.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters matches children ages 6 through 18 with role models in one-to-one relationships. To learn more, visit the Rappahannock Big Brothers Big Sisters website at or call 540-371-7444.

Susan Larson is the publisher of Fredericksburg.Today online news, a contributing writer for Fredericksburg Parent and Family magazine and a freelance writer and social media consultant. This is the last in her yearlong series about Rappahannock Big Brothers Big Sisters. You can read all the stories in the series online

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Pouches' Community Corner

This month Pouches learned about a very important resource for families who have lost loved ones to sudden tragedy, an organization called LLOST.

keepsake box

The foundation has helped 44 hospitals in 22 states through their Treasured Memories program. The program sends nurses to bereavement training, and provides or supplements the $55 memory boxes that include clothes, booties, handknot blankets, pictures, foot prints, hand prints, clipped hair and other mementos.