“My mentor motivated me to succeed in both school and in changing my life.”
-Katie, Tabor Mentee
Our program empowers youth who are preparing to leave the child welfare system. Youth are matched with caring adult volunteer mentors and it is through the means of a mentoring relationship that the mentor and mentee form healthy and lasting relationships centered around building confidence, stability, and life skills.
Katie entered the Foster Care system in 2011 when she was only 12 years old. Life in foster care can mean several foster homes, moving schools in the middle of the year and constantly having a turnover of friends, care givers, case workers and teachers. Challenges and uncertainty can quickly become the norm and the need for a concrete and caring support system becomes more important than ever.
“I met Katie in August 2013 while she was participating in our Adolescent Initiative Program (AIP) and taking Life Skills classes offered through this program. Katie was interested in being matched with a mentor and I had the opportunity to interview her for our Mentoring Program. I was so impressed with how lively and ambitious she was despite her past experiences and current challenges. She demonstrated perseverance and immediately knew that with guidance and support, her perseverance would flourish and take her to amazing heights of personal success,” recalls Rosaleen Holohan, Tabor Mentoring Specialist.
Anne was a successful professional who had recently transitioned from a corporate job in Philadelphia to a quieter pace of life and was looking for a volunteer position to give back to the community. Anne’s mentoring interview was memorable. She had a graceful and caring demeanor and it was clear how much she had to give to a young lady in Foster Care. When looking for a mentor, Tabor looks for someone who is honest, flexible, positive, an active listener and embraces differences. Tabor found all of these attributes and more in Anne.
Katie and Anne were introduced and a bond formed immediately. Katie and Anne met each week to spend time together. In the beginning, they went out for ice cream, a bite to eat and occasionally a movie. The day before each meeting, Anne would call the house parents of the home Katie was living it to confirm that Katie and she would be able to meet as planned. As Katie recalls, “this is when I really began to build trust in Anne and her commitment to me. I was so happy that Anne wanted to spend time with me and was interested in helping me.”
Challenges began to increase in both Katie’s academic and personal life during her high school years and Katie was transferred to a residential school eight hours away. Katie’s perseverance was put to the test as she started to have doubts about her ability to graduate and her future. Anne never stopped believing in her.
“It was during this difficult time in my life that I realized Anne was more than committed to me, she was devoted.” Anne never gave up trying to be in contact with Katie. They spoke on the phone and wrote letters to each other, letters that they both cherish to this day. Anne would even make the eight hour round trip journey to see Katie as often as possible. It was Anne’s devotion that gave Katie hope.
Katie eventually was able to move back to the area for her senior year of high school. Knowing that Anne had her back, Katie worked extremely hard and was determined to overcome her obstacles, make smart decisions and graduate high school. Katie not only graduated, she applied to colleges because of Anne’s encouragement. She was even accepted to each school she applied. Katie decided on a small liberal arts college that offered the major she was interested in, Psychology.
In December of 2016, Katie completed her first semester spent a lot time with Anne over the holidays. What have they done with their time together? Baking cookies and pies for family and friends.
When asked what she thought her life might have been like if she did not have a mentor, Katie responded, “without Anne I can honestly say, I would never have graduated and become a college student. Anne motivated me to succeed in school and she changed my life. She is like a second mother to me.”
Anne won Tabor’s 2016 Mentor of the Year Award
Anne, Tabor Mentor and Rosaleen Holohan, Tabor Mentoring Specialist