This month marked an important milestone in Silver Lining Mentoring’s history—our very first matches are celebrating 20 years together! Mentees Henry and Mike have been connected with their mentors, Justin and Vanessa, since March 2002.
Silver Lining Mentoring® was founded in 2001 by a young man impacted by foster care. At age 9, after four years of transient living in multiple foster homes and intermittent stays with friends, family, and his birth mother, Justin Pasquariello prepared to begin a new life with yet another foster family. Luckily, this new foster family proved to be his last stop. Justin escaped the inconsistent and disruptive nature of life in the foster care system when his new foster family adopted him.
Nine years later, as a freshman at Harvard College, Justin learned first-hand how one person can affect the life of another by becoming a mentor, and seeing the impact he and his mentee had on each other. In his senior year, he developed a mentoring program dedicated to serving youth in foster care in Greater Boston. In 2001, Justin forged an alliance with Mass Mentoring Partnership to pilot what was then called Adoption & Foster Care (AFC) Mentoring.
In March 2002, the organization made its very first mentor-mentee “matches.” Since then, we have continued to connect youth impacted by foster care with long-term mentoring relationships and other critical resources.
20 Years of Connection
Over the past two decades, the matches have done so much together, from participating in SLM activities at the office to playing games, going snowtubing, and sharing meals. Mentors Justin and Vanessa fondly recall walking in the Dorchester Day Parade with Mike and watching Henry give a speech at the United Way. They shared about getting to meet the special people in Henry and Mike’s lives over the years and having the opportunity to see how many people care so much about them.
Henry shared the following thoughts to mark this milestone: “I am honored to have been associated with the SLM community for these 20 years. Growing and getting to know Justin and Vanessa over the years and then watching them grow as parents has been a journey in itself. We have grown a lot of memories over the past 20 years from going to the art museum with Justin or walking and chatting after the MATCH Gala with Justin and Vanessa to exploring Middlesex County and guessing which homes are the most expensive. These days we stay in touch mainly over phone or video chat. We’re hoping for an in-person meet up soon—here’s to hoping for some normalcy after COVID. Looking forward to see what the next 20 years will bring my SLM family.”
If you’re interested in building a supportive relationship with an amazing young person like Henry and Mike, learn more about becoming a mentor!