SLO Big Brothers Big Sisters Honors Mother of Three

Stephanie Rothbauer was named Big Sister of the Year by Big Brothers Big Sisters San Luis Obispo. She is a resident of Paso Robles, mother to three children and Big Sister to Vanessa, a third-grader at Georgia Brown Elementary School.

“I’ve always been interested in becoming a Big Sister, but the timing was never right,” Rothbauer said. “I am busy mother with three kids of my own, and I own my own business as well— how could I possibly fit one more thing? But my heart had room for something more and I felt becoming a Big Sister was just right.”

Rothbauer’s children are 8, 12 and 14, and keep her busy, along with her husband, Tad, and her own interior design business, Stephanie Rothbauer Interiors. She also works alongside Jan Kepler four days a week at Kepler Design Group in San Luis Obispo. With her family’s blessing, she took the leap to add another child to her life.

“I sat down with my family and told them this is something I wanted to do and everyone was on board,” Rothbauer said. “I had to explain to my youngest child that there would be times she could join my little sister and also times that I needed to spend one on one time with my little sister. And that’s how my Big Sister journey began over two years ago.”

Now, Rothbuaer’s second-grade daughter and Vanessa are friends and even attend the same school. Vanessa’s first language is Spanish and Rothbauer’s daughter, Mia, is also fluent in Spanish, learning it at the immersion school they both attend.

“When I met Vanesa for the first time, we were both incredibly nervous,”Rothbauer said. I think that lasted for the first 10 minutes as we sat and ate our frozen yogurt. By the time we finished our first of many after-school treats I knew we were the perfect match.”

Rothbauer picks Vanessa up from school every Wednesday, which is early release day for Paso Robles schools, and they hang out for a couple of hours. Some weeks, it’s just the two of them and other times Rothbauer’s daughter or sons join them. She said they’ve done just about everything: seen every new children’s movie, bowling, Paso Robles Children’s Museum, beach, pumpkin patch, making gingerbread houses and more.

“Stephanie helps me with schoolwork,” Vanessa added. “I like school more now because I am interested in math and have made new friends. Stephanie practices math, reading, and helps me with my English homework. It’s really helpful to have the extra practice outside of school. I used to not like math, and Stephanie made it fun. I have even received awards in school now. My time with Stephanie is very special; we celebrate things like Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and Christmas together.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters has been in existence for more than 100 years and operates under the belief that every child has the inherent ability to succeed and thrive in life. Volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters make meaningful, monitored friendships between adult volunteers and children.

“I absolutely love when we get together and she comes running to me with open arms,” Stephanie Rothbauer said. “With pride, she tells her friends that I’m her Big Sister. … I’m not sure our paths would have crossed without Big Brothers Big Sisters and I’m so incredibly thankful they did.”

The San Luis Obispo has been funded, in large part, by donations from must! Charities. For more information on volunteering or contributing to Big Brothers Big Sisters, call 805-781-3226 or go to slobigs.org.