Meet YWLP Facilitator: Claire Buckholz
Our YWLP Big Sisters are the face of the program, but it takes a village to bring dozens of UVA women in to the local community to mentor middle school girls every year! The interns who help with program operations for YWLP have created a series of posts to introduce you to the students serving as YWLP mentoring group facilitators. Facilitators are students who have served as YWLP Big Sisters in a previous year who return to advance their leadership skills by serving for an additional year as a facilitator for a group of six to eight YWLP Big and Little sister pairs at one of our partnering schools in the Charlottesville community.
Claire began her time in YWLP last fall as she began her first year at UVA. Serving as a Big Sister as a 1st year is uncommon as the mentorship is typically composed of 2nd-4th year students. Claire felt very fortunate to have found out about the program through a friend and was excited to be matched with a Little Sister when a spot opened up in the program. Through YWLP, Claire found many meaningful and lifelong friendships which compelled her to remain in YWLP by returning as a Facilitator! She explained that the women in the program “will always have your back and love and support you because everyone is there with a common goal in supporting the Little Sister.” She has found this experience to have totally transformed her time at UVA.
“The key to being a Big in YWLP is patience. I came into it expecting to be best friends with my Little and was immediately hit with rejection while my Little tested me to make sure I deserved her trust. That period took a lot longer than I expected. However, we now have such an incredible relationship. This goes hand in hand with forming those important relationships with other Littles and Bigs in group because YWLP is a team. It is so important to reach out and give support or ask for help when you need it. It is also so valuable to form those relationships with the other Bigs in group.” -Claire Buckholz
Claire is also involved in a multitude of groups on Grounds including the PKG concerts committee through UPC where she helps to organize concerts and events, the student council arts committee, Best Buddies, and the teacher education program as a research assistant. She spent Summer 2018 in Italy an au pair for two little boys in Milan and enjoyed travelling to London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Barcelona, and Lisbon as well.
It was through YWLP that Claire was first exposed to the Curry School of Education and that exposure has greatly influenced her future career plans, passions, and her application into the Youth and Social Innovation major at UVA. She is considering a double major in psychology with hopes of applying to the Master’s in counseling program in the future. Claire is inspired to work with underprivileged youth, specifically, adolescents, in the future because of her work in YWLP. She wants to help adolescents find hope, love, and patience during such a critical and vulnerable stage of life.
Nicole Baker is majoring in Speech Communication Disorders and will graduate from UVA’s Curry School of Education and Human Development in 2019. She served as a YWLP Big Sister in 2017-18 and is currently an intern on the YWLP team.