Armani and volunteer mentor Andrew were matched in 2022 and have continued to grow their bond through shared experiences. They were also honored speakers at our recent Match Gala. Read some of Armani’s reflections on how their match has encouraged him to follow his dreams. 

Growing up in foster care, I learned to expect two things: disappointment and chaos. I entered the foster care system when I was in kindergarten. 

I was moved more than a dozen different times to different group homes in different communities and had to go to lots of different schools. I never had a choice in the matter. And I was never sure who I’d see again or if I’d have a chance to say goodbye.

I learned to expect that the people in my life would come and go. The adults who were in my life were always paid to be there. 

I met Andrew in Silver Lining Mentoring’s Learn and Earn program this past winter. I was living at a group home and decided to join Learn and Earn because it teaches skills I need like budgeting and interview training…AND, to be honest…. I liked the fact that I earn money for every class I attend. 

I also like that everyone in the program is learning this stuff alongside our mentors – we participate in the life skills workshops together.  Andrew and I talk about what we’re learning and he helps me practice in real time. 

But, what’s most important to me is that Andrew shows up for me because of who I AM. He doesn’t get paid to be a mentor. He’s just here for me. We’re in touch almost every day. He doesn’t let me down. 

I’m proud to say that I recently reached a big milestone – for the first time in my life, I have my own space – I’m living in my own apartment and I am independent now! 

I know I can reach out to Andrew when I have questions about big things, like my future career and relationships and college, and little things like which coffee station would look good in my apartment.

I’m excited to think about us still being friends many years from now, like lots of other Silver Lining matches. Silver Lining always tells us they’re in it for the long haul, and I believe it.

Silver Lining has given me skills I can take with me, and a mentor who’ll stand by me. Who knows what I’ll accomplish next, and what questions I’ll be asking Andrew along the way. 

Interested in learning more about mentoring a young person in foster care? Check out the Become a Mentor page and explore options for attending an upcoming volunteer info session.