Growing up, Dani Kassander always hoped to have a younger sibling that she could inspire and encourage. As an only child, she didn’t get that opportunity. But that didn’t stop Dani.
When Lincoln Learning Solutions teamed up with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Beaver County to support the Beyond School Walls program, Dani jumped at the opportunity to be a Big. Through the program, Dani and other Lincoln employees help Littles from local school districts learn about career opportunities. They also act as mentors for their Littles.
Dani was paired with Samarrah as a temporary Little because Samarrah’s Big was not available for their first meeting. Because they had so much in common, program leaders decided to keep Samarrah and Dani together.
Dani is an animator/video editor at Lincoln Learning, and she enjoys sharing her work with Samarrah, who is also an artist.
“She’s an incredible artist,” Dani said. “She has been eagerly bringing her sketches to meetings to show me what she’s been working on.”
For her birthday, Dani surprised Samarrah with a gift of paints and a ceramic owl piggy bank, on which she could use the paints. The pair has been communicating on Snapchat throughout the Covid-19 quarantine, and Samarrah regularly shares photos of her paintings with Dani.
Dani likened Samarrah’s most recent painting of rap artist J. Cole (shown below) to a painting that would be found in an art exhibit.
“She continues to amaze me with her talents,” Dani said, “and I am so thankful that I have been given the opportunity to help foster her creativity and personal growth.”