KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Dianne and Jake are getting to see each other in-person more these days, but the pandemic has kept them apart for much of the past year.
"It helps me feel less isolated for sure," Dianne said.
"She is cool! She's really cool," Jake smiled.
This unlikely pair have been friends for seven years, matched through Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, and though they are generations apart, they have more in common than what meets the eye.
"We both like watching plays and the outdoors," Jake said.
"We've done lots of exploring of the city. We've been to a lot of historic places together," Dianne reminisced.
From basketball games to visiting the theater, they've done it all.
"It's just fun to learn new things no matter what age you are," Dianne smiled.
And over time they have found a surprising connection the old-fashioned way.
"He's taught me some things, yes," Dianne laughed. "He's still interested in being connected to friends and family no matter whether you're technically savvy or not. He doesn't care."
For now, they are navigating this new way of life, figuring out where they can go and how they can do it together.
And through it all, their bond keeps growing stronger.
"She is kind of like another grandma," Jake said. "She gets me on a lot of stuff. She understands where I'm coming from."
"We've learned to respect each other and be honest with each other and share our lives with one another, and it's just meant a lot to me," Dianne said.
More than 150 children in our area are currently on the waiting list for Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee--three out of four are boys, but there are not enough mentors.
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