Life at DHG Blog

Making an Impact: My Experience as a “Big”

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About two years ago I pulled this very fortune out of a fortune cookie: “Someone is looking up to you. Don’t let that person down.” I know what you’re thinking… Martha, you’re six feet tall – most people HAVE to look up to you. All joking aside, these words really stuck with me. Shortly after, I applied to be a “Big.” The process was a long one, but as soon as I met my “little” I knew we were going to hit it off. She brought me a page out of a coloring book and it just so happened to be a picture of one of my favorite things – a cupcake. We have since tried various cupcake shops around Charlotte, we’ve eaten at least 30 strawberry milkshakes from Chick-fil-A (with the whipped cream and cherry on top, of course), tested out various donuts at Krispy Kreme and finished multiple bags of candy (and popcorn) on our movie dates. Some may say we have a sugar problem…

Not to worry though, we have done some healthier things as well. We’ve gone bowling, to the trampoline park, to Ray’s Splash Planet, painted pottery (I should note that Elaija also chose to paint a cupcake here), had a day out on a boat on Lake Norman, and made matching friendship necklaces. We’ve taken my dog, Squash, to the dog park and on various walks through my neighborhood, where we learned the difference between our left and our right. We’ve explored the “massive buildings” in uptown Charlotte and seen many 3-D movies. We’ve had more than a handful of lunches together at her school where we have played card games that practice math and reading skills. We’ve exchanged drawings and notes – and since her transition from Kindergarten to 1st grade, they have gone from only saying “love, Elaija” to being full sentences. This is the most recent one. It says: “Martha, I love you more than ice cream.” <3 Elaija” (there’s that sugar thing again).

This has been an amazing and rewarding experience for me and I think she has enjoyed it as well. I’m sharing this with you in hopes that you will see first-hand how powerful these organizations are and how much they can do for the youth of our community – and maybe even teach you a thing or two about yourself. You can make a big impact by doing something very small.


Martha is a designated designer for the Charlotte Market and she supports the firm-wide efforts of the Creative Studio. Martha sits on the Charlotte Market’s philanthropic committee and helped steer DHG’s United Way campaign to success in 2016. Outside of work, Martha enjoys yoga, the Panthers and her dog, Squash. She devotes significant time to her “little sister” through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization.