Silver Lining Mentoring was founded in 2001 by a young man impacted by foster care. 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. At age nine, 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 early spring 2002, the organization made its first mentor-mentee “match.” It became an independent 501(c)(3) in 2004 and continues to provide programs to serve youth in foster care. Since the organization’s inception, we have enjoyed continuous growth and success in matching youth with highly committed volunteer mentors.
In 2015, the organization underwent a renaming process in response to its young people’s desire to have a more aspirational, future oriented name that reflects the voices and values of our youth. Our name came from a youth focus group when one SLM mentee reflected that “you have given me a mentor I can count on and a future I can look forward to – this organization is my silver lining.” And with that, our name was born! Silver Lining Mentoring is among only a few mentoring organizations in the United States, and the only mentoring organization in Massachusetts, that exclusively serves the unique, pressing needs of youth in foster care.
Awards & Recognition
Silver Lining Mentoring has been recognized several times for its impact in the community. The organization was chosen as a Social Innovator by the Social Innovation Forum in 2014. In 2015, Social Venture Partners selected Silver Lining Mentoring as a three-year investee. In 2017, The Barr Foundation chose CEO Colby Swettberg as a Barr Foundation Fellow. This significant award recognizes Colby’s and Silver Lining Mentoring’s leadership in foster care and mentoring innovation. In 2018, the Massachusetts Service Alliance named Silver Lining Mentoring a certified Service Enterprise, recognizing its supreme return on volunteer investment.