KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Connecting is so important these days, which is why Ally Johnson signed up to become a big sister again.
She couldn't stop smiling as she and Lucia played one of their favorite games together.
"We play a lot of Guess Who," Johnson laughed. "Lucia wins almost all the time. She's really good!"
The pair were matched through Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee in March.
"I just really missed how fun it was, how rewarding it was to have such a cool little sister," Johnson said.
"I like that she's really funny and playful," Lucia smiled.
The upcoming second grader loves to keep Johnson on her toes. The two spend a lot of time together.
"We play games. Sometimes we draw, and sometimes we read books," Lucia said.
"She always compliments me. I love to compliment her. She's so smart, and I just think building that female bond is so important," Johnson said.
It is a bond that constantly keeps Johnson learning and one she hopes will teach Lucia about the power of positive relationships.
"I'm a young, professional woman. I want her to see there's a lot that she can do," Johnson said. "You make time for something this important, and the second that you have your first visits, time opens up. You're going to be there because you want to be there."
Nearly 100 children are currently on the waiting list for mentors with Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee.
The non-profit says more parents are trying to find extra support for their children in this pandemic, but there are not enough volunteers to meet the increased demand.
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Lucia wants more children to get the chance to have a mentor like hers.
"No matter if you're big or small anyone can be by your side," she smiled. "I want them to know what it feels like."
Click here to become a mentor or volunteer.