“When we were first matched, we were both pretty young, so we weren’t really looking too far into the future,” said Rosalina. “I never thought that we might be friends for over a decade.”
“When she first signed me up, I don’t think my mom expected it to last as long as it has,” said Chelsea. “Even when Rosalina had to move, it would have made sense for the Match to end then — but it never did.”
Sisterhood from the start
Chelsea’s father passed away when she was just 3 years old. She spent most of her childhood in a one-parent home. Her mom worked full-time, sometimes at multiple jobs, and wanted to find Chelsea a positive role model that she could spend time with and have new experiences.
Rosalina had a similar upbringing in a one-parent home. She was a Girl Scout and had a heart for giving back and serving others from a young age.
“I decided to become a Big because I felt like I could use my personal experience to help mentor someone,” said Rosalina. “I wanted to show someone that there’s more to life than just being another statistic from a one-parent household.”
Chelsea and Rosalina were officially matched in 2004. They had similar interests and hobbies and were able to bond quickly.
“They did a really great job finding two people who would really click with each other,” said Rosalina. “Our similar backgrounds helped us bond really quickly, and that was the glue that always kept everything together.”
In addition to cooking, swimming, and playing video games, they also loved to volunteer at the Humane Society together.
“My favorite memory is probably when she was in my wedding,” said Rosalina. “She was a big fan of the chocolate fountain that day.”
In total, Chelsea and Rosalina were matched for nearly 6 years. Rosalina eventually took a new job and moved from Lawrence to Omaha. For some Matches, that might have been the natural end to their friendship.
But not for Chelsea and Rosalina.
A friendship that stood the test of time
They might live several miles apart, but Chelsea and Rosalina have never missed a beat in their relationship. Chelsea graduated high school, attended the University of Kansas, and now works at Freightquote as an account executive.
And Rosalina was right there with her every step of the way.
“I honestly still can’t think of a single week that we’ve ever missed,” said Rosalina. “We’ve always been in touch and there for each other and just a text away.”
After she moved, Rosalina still had family in the KC area and would visit often. Each time she visited, she’d be sure to spend some time with Chelsea, too. She often even brought back clothes that she wasn’t wearing anymore to give Chelsea first dibs on anything she liked!
“When she got older and got her license, she started to drive to come see me, too,” said Rosalina. “It’s definitely evolved past a Big/Little relationship and is now a solid adult friendship.”
Rosalina has introduced Chelsea to her parents and her kids, and they’ve welcomed her as one of their own.
“There was even a point in my life a few years ago where I was going through a difficult time, and I ended up staying at her parent’s home for a while,” said Chelsea. “The amount of love they’ve all shown me is just incredible.”
15 years after they first met, their friendship is just as strong as it ever was.
“I remember days that I was exhausted from work and school, but I would still go pick her up, and I was always glad that I did. We had so much fun,” said Rosalina. “If you do it right, it’ll be a lifelong Match. Big Brothers Big Sisters set the foundation for us to have a really close friendship. I have no doubt we’ll keep having a positive impact on each other’s lives for forever.”
“As a kid, I was very anxious and nervous — I had no idea how long this would last,” said Chelsea. “For me, we started out as Big Sister and Little Sister, and now it has so many different levels. I see her as a sister, a mom, and a best friend. It’s reassuring to know that it’s possible to find a friend like Rosalina — someone who will be there for you and never leave you, no matter what.”