My BEST Kids Journey
My name is Dorian Thomas. I came into BEST Kids Mentoring Program when I was about 16 on the verge of my 17th birthday. At the time I was in foster care and was not having the best time. My social worker connected me to BEST Kids because he felt like I could use the support. As I write this newsletter and reflect on my journey to this point I’m truly indebted to him for connecting with me BEST Kids because being a part of the program has changed my life.
When I came into BEST Kids I was going through a great amount of transition. Due to family conflicts and struggles with my mental health and trying to navigate life post high school, life was very hard at times. Having my first mentor helped me a lot. All things considered he was/is a great guy. I could tell he cared about me. I took issue with some of the times he wasn’t mindful of the words he used towards me, but he went above and beyond to support me. He tried to be a be there fore me through rough times, where in hindsight it is clear that he probably didn’t know how to be a support to me through some of my struggles. We had some fun times together, and to this day I still think about him from time to time and wonder if he’s okay.
After my first match unfortunately ended, I got matched with another gentleman who l got along with well. We had a great dynamic and talked nonstop practically the whole time we were together. Things were going so well that I thought we were going to be in each other’s lives for awhile. But he was supposed to come see me one day I never heard back from him. He is also someone that I wonder about if he’s okay.
After my last match ended the way it did, I honestly thought that I wasn’t going to get another mentor. But right before my 20th birthday I got matched with a new mentor, who I am still matched with to this very day. Having him in my life has done a lot for me. Even when he doesn’t talk much, I can tell he’s trying his best to engage with me and support me however he feels he can. He always leans towards what I want to do which has helped me so much. Too often in my life when I’m out and about I defer to others and don’t prioritize myself enough as I should. There have been nights/days where I was prepared to end my life, but my mentor knew how down I was, so he’d offered to take me out to eat and would encourage me that everything would be okay. Even if I didn’t feel much better afterwards just having that time to get out and not stew in the negative feelings I had in those moments stopped me from going to the point of no return.
While being with BEST Kids I grew from being a bipolar wallflower to a confident young man that can thrive in any situation I’m placed in. I was fortunate enough to be selected to be apart of the first iteration of BEST Kids Youth Advisory Club or YAC ( called the Youth Advisory Council at the time, and quite frankly it’s a better name). With YAC I was able to do meaningful community work with my peers, I went with my supervisor to events to advocate for positive change in the foster care system, and I took part in a documentary that will be used by the organization for years to come.
Throughout my time with BEST Kids, I helped however I can - whether it be with helping set up Peer Groups, to helping with the YAC, to being a support to my fellow BEST Kids family. I am truly thankful to God that this organization was blessed with great people like, my fellow staff members Saad Rehman and Carl Scott, that not only recognized the work I did for BEST Kids but advocated on my behalf to bring me on as a full-time staff member.
I am proud to say that I work for BEST Kids. And I feel so happy being able to show my peers that this is a wonderful organization that will always do their best to support their youth and put them in positions to succeed.
Happy International Women's Day! Today the BEST Kids team honors the amazing women that dedicate their time to volunteer in our mentoring program for youth in foster care. These women not only enact our mission in every interaction they have with the youth in our program, but also continue to inspire our staff and mentees on a daily basis.
Our mentors serve as coaches, confidants, role models, guides, and much more — but most importantly they become a friend to the youth they are matched with. By simply taking the time to be a listening ear or exploring a mutual hobby, our mentors build a lifelong connection with their mentees. "Thank you" is not enough to express how much gratitude we have for this dedication, but we'll say it anyway. To each and every mentor in our program, THANK YOU!
As we celebrate these amazing mentors, we encourage you to celebrate the women that serve as mentors and role models in your own life. Learn more about International Women's Day here. Learn more about mentoring with BEST Kids here.
Meet the Amazing Women who Made our 2021 Mentors of the Month List
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