Join the Young Women Leaders Program, a supportive community of college women and staff, meet dynamic middle schools girls and embark upon one of your most meaningful learning experiences at U.Va.!

“There’s really nothing to lose from participating,” said Reiko Simmons, who is in her third year as a Big Sister for the YWLP. “If anything, you’re going to grow, and hopefully you’ll help someone else grow, whether it’s another Big Sister or your Little Sister. If you like a challenge and for things to be different every day, this is something to go for […] Just do it if it’s sparked your interests at all.”

As a Big Sister, you will be matched with a 7th or 8th grade middle school girl. You and she and five to seven other pairs of Big/Little Sisters meet as a group after school each week. You’ll also spend time with just your Little Sister. In addition, you will enroll in a three-credit class that meets during the fall semester and a one-credit class that meets during the spring semester. 

“It has a big impact on the Big Sisters,” said Melissa Levy, Assistant Director of the YWLP. “We have students who either during their time, or later, will contact us and say, ‘Oh, I miss it so much’ or ‘That was the best experience I had at U.Va.’ So it can be a pretty profound experience. But it does involve putting a lot in.”

Big Sisters and Little Sisters both benefit from Young Women Leaders Program

YWLP Mentoring Coordinator Julie Trevett-Smith referred to the qualities listed on the interview evaluation sheet as preferred traits of the Big Sisters in the program. According to the list, Big Sisters should be “friendly, positive, genuine, persistent, warm, consistent, open-minded, enthusiastic, curious about Littles, a good listener, have grit and have resilience.”

If interested in applying to be a Big Sister, please download and complete the YWLPBigSisterApplication2014-2015.

Current or past Big Sisters can also apply now to be a facilitator for the 2014-2015 academic year! The primary responsibility of the facilitators is to organize and lead the weekly group meetings between Big Sisters and Little Sisters at a school. Facilitators typically were Big Sisters in the program or have participated in similar experiences.

“Their consistency, their commitment, their enthusiasm, their persistence: All of that is so crucial to the program going well for both the Big Sisters in their groups that they support and their Little Sisters,” Levy said.

If interested in applying to be a facilitator, please download and complete the YWLPFacilitatorApplication2014-2015.

You may submit applications via email at mklevy@virginia.edu, or print and return them to the Women’s Center reception desk. For more information on either application, please contact Melissa Levy at mklevy@virginia.edu.