Camino resident Diane MacLean has been honored as Big Sister of the Year by Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Dorado County. MacLean has been with her Little, Liliana Brambilla, for seven years, beginning with a school-based match when Lily was in first grade.
“I’ve seen Lily with baby teeth, no teeth and now pretty white adult teeth,” said MacLean who is visibly proud of her Little. “It’s been so fun to share the things I know with her and see her grow up.”
MacLean, 63, is the mother of three adult daughters and has four granddaughters.
“I was a stay-at-home mom with my girls. One of my daughters is the director of BBBS in Alaska and when we moved here, eight years ago, I was looking for a way to get involved with our new community. My neighbor suggested Big Brothers Big Sisters,” she said.
Lily and MacLean soon realized that meeting at school once a week just wasn’t enough time together.
“It wasn’t quality time because we always had a crowd of kids around us,” said MacLean. “And 45 minutes just didn’t seem like enough time.”
The two began meeting after school for a few hours each week. After a few years, Judy, Lily’s younger sister, began to tag along and now the three are a team.
“We’re like the Three Musketeers,” laughed MacLean. “Lily is quiet and very much an artist, while Judy is more talkative and outgoing.”
When the three are together, they often work on crafts and making art for the BBBS Big Autumn Auction in the fall. Their handpainted designer birdhouses and Adirondack chairs are a huge hit at the auction with two chairs bringing in $350.
Recently the girls have branched out, creating thank you cards for the BBBS office to send out, featuring Otis the Tortoise on a belly board in a pool.
“Lily and Judy both did a report on the Coit Tower,” said MacLean, “so we want to go see it and I want to show them the City.”
Lily was Lily Hitchcock Coit for her Living History assignment and informs MacLean that the Coit Tower was built in her honor, a fact which MacLean, a former Bay Area resident, is delighted to learn.
“She has really opened up my world,” said MacLean. “Lily is a big nature person and likes to hike and take walks. She’ll come back and describe the things she’s seen on her walks and now I look for those things as well.”
Opening worlds is important to MacLean — something she sees as her purpose for being a Big Sister.
“Four or five years ago I took Lily to her first real restaurant and we’ve been to the theater, ” said MacLean.”I want to show Lily and Judy the world outside Camino and California and I would love to see them go to college or to have a vocation they love.”
With MacLean’s support, Lily, now 13, played on the Camino School volleyball team and is now a mentor in the school’s anti-bullying program. She’s planning to try out for track. She alternates between wanting to be a baker like her mother or an artist.
“She can do both,” said MacLean, “and I can be the taste tester.”
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530-344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @WSchultzMtDemo.