When her “Little Sister” graduated from 8th grade a year ago, Keely Kopetz was beaming proudly in the audience. Like many middle schoolers, her Little Sister, Zoe, was anxious about starting high school. She was afraid she’d get lost on campus, worried she wouldn’t choose the right classes, and concerned about finding new friends who shared her interests. Living with a dad who speaks primarily Spanish, the girl wondered how he could help her through the process., writes Dawn Stover of Next Door Inc.
Without hesitation, Kopetz helped her Little Sister get off to a good start. She attended the girl’s student orientation with her, showed her around the Hood River Valley High School campus (where Kopetz herself had attended high school), helped her choose classes, and helped her explore the numerous clubs she could join. After that, the Little Sister was far more excited than nervous about starting high school. She knew her Big Sister would be there for her every step of the way.
Kopetz and her Little Sister are Hood River County’s “Match of the Year.” Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Columbia Gorge (BBBS) singles out two matches annually for special recognition of the contributions its volunteers make to improve the lives of children in the Gorge. The group hosted a breakfast earlier this year to honor the efforts of Kopetz and other mentors.
Kopetz and her Little Sister began their match in August 2011. The Little Sister was referred to the program because she lived with her dad and needed someone to do girl stuff with: painting toenails and talking about boys. In Kopetz, BBBS staff found a mentor who is young, energetic, caring, and always willing to lend a listening ear and a supportive smile. Kopetz does sales and marketing for Wy’east Vineyards in Hood River.
Although the two sisters now lead busy lives and aren’t able to see each other every week like they used to, they have developed a beautiful friendship. When they’re together, there’s energy and an indescribable chemistry between them that anyone can see. They talk on the phone and text almost daily about boys, friends, school, successes, and struggles. They’re constantly learning from each other and get as much joy out of the other’s victories as their own. Remarkably, when Big Brothers Big Sisters staff calls to check in with these ladies, they each use the same adjective to describe the other: “amazing.”
Kopetz and her husband, Pete, welcomed a baby girl last month. Kopetz’s Little Sister is excited to be an honorary big sister to the new baby.
BBBS currently serves 73 matches in the region, including Hood River and Wasco Counties in Oregon and western Klickitat County in Washington. Big Brothers Big Sisters, a program of The Next Door, creates and supports mentoring relationships between children and adult volunteers. There are Little Brothers and Sisters waiting right now to make a new friend, so contact your local match coordinator to learn more: Justine Ziegler at 541-490-9979 or JustineZ@nextdoorinc.org.
Cynthia Poole of the Hood River Eagles Lodge writes:“The Hood River Eagles Lodge No. 2150 would like to thank the following merchants for donating to the Diabetes Research Center fundraiser:
Sheppard’s, Dog River Coffee, Julie’s Beauty and Barber, Windmaster 76, Dream Street, Hood River Supply, Gift House, Hood River Jewelers, Diamond Fruit Growers, Crazy Pepper, Hood River Liquor Store, Riverview Lodge, The Fruit Company;
Pietro’s Pizza, China Gorge, NAPA, Waucoma Bookstore, Safeway, G. Williker’s, Clem’s Country Store, Pheasant Valley Winery, Full Sail, papa Murphy’s, Ryan’s Juice, Carson Oil, Bette’s Place, Andrew’s Pizza, Pacifica Outlet, Les Schwab Tire Center;
Apland’s Jewelers, Gehrig’s Chevron, The Warehouse, Dutch Bros, Cathy’s Barber Shop, Flow Yoga, Mount Hood Railroad, At Home on Oak Street, and the Columbia Gorge Hotel.
Because of you our fundraiser was a huge success.”
John and Patti Kristmann of Hood River write: “We can relate to busy schedules, things we must get done, the convenience of shopping for items on the Internet to save time/money etc. What you cannot duplicate on the Internet is the “down home” neighborly customer service that Shortt Supply provides. Brian Shortt, his staff and family are amazing and we are blessed to have them in Hood River. So, if you are looking for outdoor and running gear, hydration and nutrition supplies, please stop in and see Brian and his staff, their customer service is outstanding.”
The organizers of the 2014 Hood River Valley High School Project Graduation send thanks to the following businesses, organizations and individuals for donations to the all-night party at Hood River Elks:
10-Speed Coffee Co., 5th Element Salon, A Kidz Dental Zone, Adams Barkdust, Adidas Campus, All Animal Care Clinic, Alpine Veterinary Hospital, Amerititle, Ananas Boutique, Andrew’s Pizza, Apland Jewelers.
Apple Green Home & Garden, Ascan Orchards, Barbara Baker, Bealls, Bette’s Place, Bickford Orchards, Bisnett Insurance, Inc., Bob & Barbara Schuppe, Bruce Burton, DMD, Bryant Pipe & Supply Inc.
Carson Oil, Cascade Central Credit Union, Cascade Orthopedics, Celilo Restaurant, Chamberlin Distributors, China Gorge, Chinook Plumbing & Heating, Cindy Yoshimura, Coburn Electric, Inc., Colt Reality, Columbia AG, Inc., Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, Columbia Gorge ENT & Allergy, Columbia Gorge Family Medicine, Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers, Columbia Gorge Hotel, Columbia Gorge Medical Imaging, Columbia Gorge Physical Therapy, Columbia Pain Management, P.C., Columbia River Chiropractor, Columbia State Bank, Copper West, Properties, Crompton Dental, LLC, Cross Point NW,Dakine Hawaii, Inc.
DelCarpine Automotive, Diamond Fruit, Directors Mortgage, Dog River Coffee Company, Domino’s Pizza, Don Nunamaker Reality, Double Mountain, Duckwall-Pooley Fruit Company, E & L Auto, Farmers Insurance, Flow Yoga, Foils Salon Day Spa, Full Sail Brewing, G. Wiliker’s, Gehrig’s Chevron, Gorge Electric, Inc., Gorge Networks.
Hazel Rebekah Lodge #156, Hood River Alliance Church, Hood River Bagel Company, Hood River Chiropractic Center, Hood River Dental Clinic, Hood River Electric Coop, Hood River ER Physicians, Hood River Fire Department, Hood River Hobbies, Hood River Hotel, Hood River Inn, Hood River Lions, Hood River Nazarene Church, Hood River Sports Club.
Hood River Supply, Hood River Tire Factory, Hood River Valley Booster Club, Hood River Valley Christian Church, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Indian Creek Family Eye Care.
Ing Orchards, Insitu Group, Iris Hay, Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant, James & Shirley Mallon, Jaques/Sharpe/Sherrerd/FitzSimons/Ostrye attorneys, John’s Equipment Repair, Inc., Juanita’s, Judge Paul Crowley, Krieg Millwork, Lanes Paving & Seal Coating, Les Henry CPA, Les Schwab, Lois Butler, Marley’s Corner, Maryhill Museum, McDonalds, Mercardo Guadalajara Market, Mid-Columbia Distributors, Mike’s Ice Cream, Morgan Paint.
Mt. Hood Meadows, Mt. Hood Railroad, Mt. View Cycle, Neil Watanabe DMD PC, New York City Sub Shop, Nobi’s Gas, NW Anesthesia, Inc., Odell Fire Department, Odell Garden Club, Odell Lioness Club, Odell Lion’s Club, Orchard Lanes, Orthopedic Surgeons, Ovino Market, Pacifica Outlet, Packer Orchard & Bakery, Paddocks, Parkdale Fire Department, Paul Blackburn, Pepsi, Pietro’s Pizza, Pine Grove Fire Department.
Pita Pit/Cherries Frozen Yogurt,Pizzacata, Pacific Northwest Federal Credit Union, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital.
Radio Shack, Ranch Drive-In, River of Life Assembly, Rivers Edge Towing, Romul’s, Rosauers, Rotary Club of Hood River, RSEC Environmental and Engineering, Ruddy Duck, Ryan’s Juice Company, Safeway, Sailworks, Salon Don’Ya, Schlosser Machine Inc., Scott Gaulke DMD, Second Wind, Secure Storage, Shari’s Restaurant, Sheppard Inc., Sixth Street Bistro, Snap Fitness.
Stonehedge Gardens, Subway, Summit Family Medicine, Tallman Ladders, Taylor and Marshall, DMD, The Fruit Company, Thomas Fick, CPA, Tucker Road Animal Hospital, Tucker Road Baptist Church, Turtle Island Foods, Twiggs, WAAAM, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Westside Fire Department,Xtreme Burgers, Your Rental Center.