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Sister act

Being a big sister may seem like a big task, but for the Capital District's Big Sister of the Year, Marin Ridgway of Clifton Park, it is enjoyable.

People sometimes think this must be a lot of work, said Ridgway. "Actually, it is a lot of fun."

Ridgway was honored in November at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region Big Evening of Thanks held at the state museum. Honored for her five years as Big Sister to LeAnn Healey, Ridgway has mentored Healey since she was just 11.

"She's since grown up with Marin, and Marin has helped guide her into adulthood," said Karen Brown, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region.

Throughout their years together, Ridgway and Healey have done everything from baking cookies to ice skating.

"Being a Big Sister to LeAnn has given me a glimpse into what it is like to be growing up in today's world," Ridgway said. "When LeAnn was younger, it was a chance to be a bit of a kid again. Now that she is older, I am getting a look at high school from her point of view."

Healey, 16, a junior at Stillwater High School, agrees that things have changed over the years. She said that initially, the focus was on having fun and the activities they did together. However, something changed when she was a freshman in high school.

"It wasn't about the things we were doing together, but about spending time with Marin," Healey said.

"Seeing Marin is often the highlight of my day," she said.

Although Ridgway decided to be a Big Sister as a way of giving back to the community, she has benefited from the experience as well. Ridgway, who played the flute throughout school and college, said that being a Big Sister to Healey has renewed her interest in playing the flute regularly. Healey was beginning to play when they first met in 2002.

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