Big Sister Kat Moriarty
There are those who make it their life’s work to help others. Then there are those who make it their work and then some. As a Police Constable in Greater Manchester, working on some of the toughest cases, Kat Moriarty is one of those people.
In her working life, Kat is very used to coming across very troubled young people. “Most of the time, when I meet someone in my work, I’m seeing them on the worst day of their lives,” Kat tells us. “I was attracted to the Big Sister Programme because I saw an opportunity to connect with a young person in a positive way.”
The Big Sister Programme is designed to take care of the ‘middle girls’. Those who are neither failing nor excelling and, as a result, often get overlooked. Kat knows more than most that just because you sit in the middle doesn’t mean you’ll stay there. Middle children can go either way, which is why we should be focusing more on ensuring we’re giving them the time and support to make the best decisions. As a Police Constable, Kat comes across many of these former ‘middle children,’ who have found themselves in trouble. Becoming a Big Sister, for Kat, was about positivity and coming into a young person’s life at an earlier stage.
Like many of our Big Sisters, Kat struggled with self-doubt as she approached the programme. Asking herself what she could contribute and questioning her ability to have an impact. In many ways, she expected to find a vulnerable young girl in need of an adult to guide her. When she met her Little Sister though, she was surprised to discover a fairly confident young girl with a great attitude. She was well informed about human struggles with self-esteem and she knew how important her relationships were and how to nurture them.
“We are led to believe that young people are on social media, not really connecting with each other on a real level, but it’s just not true. My Little Sister put so much effort into her peer relationships and, because of that, they were strong and a really positive influence on her life.”
In fact, spending time with her Little Sister made Kat really think about the unfair way in which teenagers are often portrayed in society. She was expecting to find someone in need of ‘fixing’ but Kat actually found herself learning from her Little Sister and a little in awe of her positivity and awareness.
Suffering from some anxiety in particular situations, Kat suggested some techniques to her Little Sister for managing stress. She was elated when her Little Sister had applied them and rushed to tell her that they’d worked.
“It wasn’t just that my idea had worked out, it was more that she was so excited to tell me she’d tried it and she’d trusted me enough to do so. That’s when I realised that she was really invested in the experience and dedicated to getting something out of it.”
Now Kat is coming to the end of the programme she is pleased to have been a part of such a positive experience. As a Police Constable, Kat is often tasked with encouraging a young person to open up very quickly, but what the programme has made her realise is that it takes time and care to build a trusting relationship. This is one of the many reasons why Kat would recommend become a Big Sister to others.
“This experience really shone a light on just how engaged and resilient young people are and it was so uplifting to have the opportunity to see that first-hand. This doesn’t mean though that they don’t need guidance and support, especially those girls in the middle.”
Often, meeting the right person at the right time in your life can really steer the direction a young person chooses to take. Kat was one of these people for her Little Sister and Girls Out Loud are so grateful to be working with inspiring women like her.
Little Sister – Katy
Curious about what being a Little Sister was all about, Katy thought the Girls Out Loud programme would be a good opportunity to try something new. She hoped that it would help her to talk more about how she felt and to learn more about herself.
What stands out to Katy from her journey is how comfortable she felt with her Big Sister Kat. Since it seemed as if they’d known each other far longer, she found she could open up and enjoy their time together.
Kat helped Katy learn how to cope with bad days and realise that she needs to focus on her own happiness before she can try and make others happy. She feels better able to handle situations now that she is able to talk more openly and can express herself.
By setting challenges, Kat has encouraged Katy to push herself and discover what she is capable of. In school she is now regularly raising her hand, speaking up and applying herself more. Katy has also found her friendships improved and she is confident to speak to new people.
Through the Big Sister Programme, Katy has found she is able to cope with difficult days and low moods. With a more resilient mindset and a positive outlook, she now knows it is far better to focus on how she feels inside than worrying about how she looks. The important thing is for her to be happy in herself.
Having gained so much from Girls Out Loud and getting the help she needed to feel stronger, Katy would now like to find a way to help others in the future.