Metro Detroit's "Big Sister of the Year" is empowering her "little sister" to become a role model herself.
Nicole Pitts was named "Big Sister of the Year" by Big Brothers Big Sisters of metro Detroit and her "little sister" (mentee) Diamond agrees.
"She’s very fun and nice and she helps me with my homework and stuff," Diamond said.
Pitts says Diamond deserves a lot of the credit.
"I feel like Diamond deserves a big portion of this award because she is the best little sister ever," Pitts said.
Diamond is starting her freshman year of high school and she's had to work harder than most to get here after setbacks from a serious car accident.
Pitts is a mother of two boys and teaches English at a community college. She has been Diamonds big sister for three years, spending a couple of hours with her every two weeks. They work on homework, hang out at the mall or do other fun activities.
One day on an outing Diamond noticed a homeless person on the side of the road.
"Yeah, it made me so sad," Diamond said.
She wanted to do something to help him and others in his position. Pitts made that wish come true by taking Diamond shopping to buy hygiene essentials and other items like tooth brushes, tooth brush cases, anti-bacterial gel, gloves, Detroit Lions band-aids, a flashlight and non-perishable food items.
"And we only choose things that we would eat ourselves," Pitts said.
They two practiced math skills as they divide up the goodies into bags. While working side-by-side, Diamond opened up to Nicole about life, school, even asking advice about things like Homecoming.
When the care packages are complete, they'll keep them in Pitts' car and give them away when they see someone in need.
"It made me feel happy," said Diamond, describing the reaction when she gives away the care packages.
"They say thank you and they're happy we gave it to them," she added.
Pitts says her mentee has brought her a lot of joy, too.
In the three years Diamond has been a "little sister," her grades have gone up, she's excitedly planning for college and she's experienced firsthand the difference an act of kindness can make. It's inspired her to give back and she hopes her story inspires others.
Diamond is the eldest of four children. Her little sister and two younger brothers would love to have a "big brother" or "big sister," too.
You can find information on metro Detroit's Big Brothers Big Sisters program here.