Silver Lining Mentoring’s longest mentoring matches were recently featured in a CommonWealth Magazine article by Shira Schoenberg called, “Foster care mentoring turns into 20-year relationship.” In the article, Henry and Mike, as well as their mentors Justin and Vanessa, reflected on the mentoring relationships that have stayed strong for the past 20 years. Silver Lining CEO Colby Swettberg also shared their thoughts.
Read an excerpt from the article below. The full article is available on CommonWealth Magazine’s website.
MIKE SMITH was 5 years old when he met Justin Pasquariello and Vanessa Fazio. Pasquariello, then 22, had started a Boston-based mentoring program for kids in foster care, and Fazio was a college intern there. Smith, who was living in Dorchester, had been in foster care since he was three.
Smith remembers Pasquariello taking him to basketball and football games. And Smith remembers the feeling of safety around the older couple. When he was with them, nothing bad happened. He didn’t get in trouble, and nobody gave him trouble. For a kid in foster care, that was a lot. When Smith returned to his birth mother’s home at age 12, Pasquariello and Fazio kept in close touch.
“I knew Justin and Vanessa longer than I know my real parents,” Smith said. “I felt more safe with them than even with my foster parents.”
The program Pasquariello founded 20 years ago, now a nonprofit called Silver Lining Mentoring, is based on a simple principle: every child deserves a stable adult.
Continue on CommonWealth Magazine’s website.