KNOXVILLE, Tenn — A lot has changed in the past year for Lizzie Gaver and 15-year-old Samyah.
For starters, they became sisters.
"Well, we got matched during a pandemic," Gaver laughed.
"It was a good little connection when I first met her. I was like oh, I can do this!" Samyah smiled.
The pair were matched through Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, and they started trying things they had never done before.
"We went to a wreath-making class at Beardsley that was a lot of fun, so whenever things pop up I'm like, 'Hey, Samyah, want to go try this? She's like alright Lizzie!" Gaver said.
"This might shock you but the wreath-making, it was actually really fun," Samyah smiled.
They tapped into their creative sides and even tried a local acting class.
"Great for Samyah, not so great for me," Gave laughed. "I forgot that when I showed up I would actually have to do the acting part of it too. It wasn't just so she could act."
"It went surprisingly well. Lizzie did amazing. I'm buttering her up," Samyah laughed.
And in tackling the new and unknown, they formed an unexpected bond.
"During a pandemic, we're all looking for connection, human connection, and I think it's just been swell to hang out with her and have someone to talk to about what's going on in her life, what's going on in my life, just someone we can go do something fun together and just get out of heads a little bit sometimes," Gaver said.
"Lizzie just brought out the best in me," Samyah smiled.
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While the two make plans for the future they're letting loose and seeing where their next adventure takes them, learning about friendship and sisterhood along the way.
"Oh, I'm teaching her how to be fun," Samyah laughed.
Right now more than 150 children are on the waiting list for mentors with Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, but there aren't enough volunteers.
Click here to become a mentor or volunteer.