Easton, his mom and his two younger brothers were facing an uphill battle. The family had recently left Easton’s dad due to his ongoing physical and emotional abuse which meant they had to flee their home. While they had found safety at a local shelter for survivors of domestic violence, their unhealed trauma and unmet mental health needs impacted their interactions --making communicating and healing together difficult. As an added stress, the Department of Social Services (DSS) had gotten involved in their situation due to ongoing safety issues between them. Easton and his brothers’ conflicts often escalated into violence, causing further trauma and harm. And the after-affects of domestic violence crippled Easton’s mom’s ability to intervene to keep them safe. This, as well as Easton’s mom increasing substance use, put their ability to stay together as a family at risk.
Rosa entered college undocumented and transitioning from foster care. These two life experiences meant that she faced more obstacles than almost all of her freshmen peers. The only thing that was for certain for Rosa, was that nothing was certain. She had dreams--big dreams--but she wasn’t fully sure if they would be attainable. All she really knew was that she had the drive and the determination to do her part to achieve her goals; all she needed was a little support to go the full distance.
Gratitude can come from suffering, hope from devastation, and intentionality from chaos.
I foster every day...I encourage and promote growth and healing in the lives of my bio children and in the youth who I mentor. If I were just to tell you that I foster, you probably and most likely, would think that I am talking about “foster care.”
Lottie didn’t have a typical childhood. Growing up with her dad who lived with a medical condition that left him physically challenged meant that Lottie had to carry more of the caregiving duties because he wasn’t able. Everything in Lottie's life took a backseat to her dad's condition and needs, including school and her own social development. Eventually her dad’s condition worsened and he was moved into a full-time care facility. Without any family, Lottie was placed into foster care at the age of 14.
January is National Mentor Month, and during the month we like to honor all of the different individuals who volunteer their time and energy to support our community’s youth and families. At FCNI, we have multiple volunteer roles, including mentor, tutor, career mentor and admin volunteer; and all of these roles directly help us achieve our mission, “to enhance the wellbeing of children, youth and families in partnership with our community.” Matt Hanley, a local attorney, is currently a Mentor with us.
Mentoring with the Family Care Network has been an amazing experience; so much so that I can’t imagine stopping even though my one year commitment is complete. When I first decided to volunteer with children, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I knew I liked kids, but was afraid that they wouldn’t like me. And I had no idea if I could legitimately be called a patient or flexible person. But after mentoring a 14 year old girl for 12 months, I feel like I’ve learned a ton, especially about who I am as a person.
Your fridge is much more than a place for groceries and leftovers. In fact, your fridge shows what matters to you. I’m not talking about whether you’re eating a balanced diet, or whether you are trying to save the planet. Matter of fact, I’m not even referring to what’s inside your fridge. I’m talking about what’s on the outside of your fridge.
As National Mentor Appreciation Month comes to a close, I feel compelled to shine a spotlight on those individuals who have served as my Mentors during my life’s journey. I truly feel indebted to the amazing individuals who imparted great wisdom and inspiration when our paths crossed. I share this is an encouragement to anybody considering becoming a mentor – you’ll never know how powerful and influential you can be until you do it!
“We all need someone who inspires us to do better than we know how.”
Why am I so passionate about mentoring?