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 9, 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 mentor during his freshman year at Harvard College, Justin learned first-hand the impact one person can have on the life of a child. In his senior year, he developed a mentoring program dedicated to serving the often overlooked and underserved population of foster youth in the Boston area. In 2001, Justin forged an alliance with Mass Mentoring Partnership to pilot our mentoring program which was then called Adoption & Foster Care (AFC) Mentoring.
In early spring 2002, AFC Mentoring made its first mentor-mentee “match.” AFC Mentoring 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 June 2015 the organization officially changed its name to Silver Lining Mentoring in an effort to move toward a more aspirational, future oriented name that reflects the voices and values of our young people. Silver Lining Mentoring continues to be 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 the foster care system.
The future holds exciting prospects for Silver Lining. Thanks to recent growth and success, and in response to the observed need for additional supports for older youth, we plan to grow our programming significantly in the coming years. As we expand to reach a greater number of youth and potential mentors, develop new and innovative trainings for mentors and mentees, and prepare foster youth to become community leaders and advocates, we can more effectively meet the myriad needs of this underserved population, and more successfully achieve our mission.