27 Kids Who Matter: Lesli & The Shandas - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

27 Kids Who Matter: Lesli & The Shandas


MADISON (WKOW) -- A couple of empty nesters found their home and hearts full again after volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

A typical weeknight in the Shanda home may include making dinner with their "little sister" Lesli. John Shanda says, "She's like a daughter as well as a little sis." "Yesterday we had a graduation party for a niece of ours and Lesli was hostess, server, and the entertainment, so she's just part of the extended family," says Jacqui Shanda.

Cooking is just one thing the Shandas like to do with Lesli, especially since she's so good at it. "I teach them a lot about what's cooked in Puerto Rico in my culture. I try to help with Spanish, but it's not a very strong point, so it's kind of eh... but I like being able to show people who I am."

Jacqui first met Lesli when she was 6 and it was an instant connection. Two years later when Jacqui was approached about becoming a Big Sister, she and her husband decided to both do it. They got matched with Lesli and have been together for 8 years.

John says having a young lady around the house is a lot different than raising their son, but they wouldn't change a thing about Lesli. And Lesli says she gets just as much out of this. "I just like being able to spend time with people other than school people. Home is fun but it's cool to see how someone else lives their lifestyle. They love me so much... and I love them back!"

This year WKOW is trying to match 27 kids with a Big Brother or Sister. There are hundreds of kids on the waiting list. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County is looking for couples, like the Shandas, whole families, and individuals.

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