“We made a sign and did little drawings for them,” said Ansley, 11, the oldest Browning girl. “We cleaned the house and basically just acted the same way we do when family comes into town.”
“We treated them like family,” added 9-year-old Abby.
Both Dunlay and Fuller made good impressions on the family of five when they arrived Sunday afternoon. The two used their talents for the Distinguished Young Women program to wow the family.
“We went outside and they showed us their routines. Ally is a gymnast and Jessie has done baton for years,” said the girls’ mother, Jennifer Browning. “Our neighbors were outside so it was like a show.”
Sunday evening was full of talking, laughing, and various activities for the Browning girls. Jennifer cooked a big meal of lasagna for her family of five, the teenagers, and the parents of one of the girls.
“Monday morning Jessie came downstairs and told us her throat hurt,” Jennifer said. “She said she was glad she was able to speak because she had never talked as much as she did Sunday. I took it as a compliment because that meant she felt comfortable enough to speak with us.”
Ansley explained Fuller and Dunlay are very different, but work well together.
“Jessie is so soft-spoken and Ally is more outspoken,” Ansley said.
Added Abby, “Jessie is like Ansley and Aly is just like me.”
The two oldest Browning girls have been a part of the Cleveland Aqua Tigers swim team for four years. Recently, Ansley placed 17 out of 96 and Abby placed 18.
“We both qualified to be alternates,” Ansley said. “If someone had not been able to show up to finals then I would have swam in their place.”
The Brownings appear to take hosting two participants of DYW in stride despite their busy schedules.
“We love people. We love to meet people and build relationships with folks,” Jennifer said. “I feel like we learn just as much from them as they do from us. We gain so much from having people in our house and being able to serve them.”
When the family is not attending CAT swim meets, they can be found doing various other activities together. According to Jennifer, Jason enjoys grilling and the girls have fun setting the table with personally designed nameplates for guests.
“I love art and music and playing basketball ball,” Ansley said.
“And I like just chilling and getting a tan with my mom,” Abby said. “Like right now I am just chilling. Eating a sucker and just chilling on this chair ... and volleyball!”
Jennifer said her family is used to having visitors at the house. Her husband, Jason, is the associate pastor of Westmore Church of God and they often host visiting pastors.
“This is the first time we have not met with or seen the people we will be hosting in our home,” Jennifer said. “A friend of mine asked me to be a host last year, but the timing was not right for us.”
Continued Jennifer, “I realized this program was about building character and helping with self-esteem. It really enhances their abilities and I wanted to help out with that.”
The Brownings have covered everything from room arrangements to breakfast options for this week. They have even planned special treats for Dunlay and Fuller.
“We found out Jessi [Fuller] had not ever had Starbucks so that will be one of her treats this week,” Browning said. “They leave every morning around 7:30 and we don’t get them back until 8:30 p.m. There is not much time to work with, but we are enjoying their company.”
All three Browning girls are looking forward to spending more time with Fuller and Dunlay. The youngest, Ava, 3, seems happy having new people in the house.
“I really like doing stuff with Ally and Jessi together, like working as a team,” Ansley said. “If think if they cheer each other on while the other is performing then they are really good together. I think they are the perfect girls and the perfect team.”
Added Abby, “They are just so sweet and joyful.”
Ansley and Abby will be out of town during the program. Ava will be there to cheer on Dunlay and Fuller with her parents.