By Deavonie Cowan, SLM Mentee

Having a mentor is one of the most humbling things that can happen to a kid, young youth, or anyone that is about to age out of foster care. When I was in foster care right around the year before I was going to age out I chose to do the SLM program, I do encourage all youths to at least try it because they won’t force you to participate. It’s simply your choice.Deavonie and his mentor Keith

I met my mentor Keith when we were paired together, before that we were in a group of mentors and mentees that were getting to know one another and partnered up later in the weeks. Me and Keith have been working with each other for about 3 years now and we have done a lot of amazing things, one of my favorite things we did was go to an art gallery in Boston. We would look at exhibits on civilizations we didn’t fully understand and was curious about, we went to an Egyptian exhibit and one on modern art.

Having a mentor means a lot to me because its someone you can rely on for life advice and if you ever need someone to just hear you out about the normal day to day. Me and my mentor have had long talks about the future and what I plan to do with life, we set some goals to help me get to where I want to be and slowly but shortly accomplished those.

One of my proudest accomplishments that me and my mentor have done is be a part of the ceremony that was raising money for foster youth all across the globe. We were invited guests representing the SLM program and values, also during the event we were greeted by the governor of my state Mr. Charlie Baker which was super exciting and insightful!

That event specifically showed me that even those who come from hardship can achieve great things especially with a mentor! I think people should know foster care isn’t the easiest of situations to tackle whether you’re the one in foster care or trying to mentor someone who is in care. Even for me when I first got an invite to do the SLM program I almost didn’t want to go with my negative mindset but something told me to give it a try anyway. The sense of having someone who I could call a “mentor” didn’t seem right because I did not have real role models in my life or supportive adults aside from my foster care team and SLM members. My foster care worker at the time did do a good job at explaining what was going on and how it could benefit me and how a new experience like that could be helpful to individuals like foster care youth.

It can be very confusing when you’re in foster care and having almost no certainty about your future situations. A mentor to help plan or navigate with you to find sustainability is one of the best things I find a foster youth can take from the SLM program. Knowing you’re not alone in a sense can take a lot of stress of the back of young individuals in certain situations because that is one of the main reasons some youth end up in care. Lots of youth come from backgrounds with no supporting adults around or none with the knowledge to help move us youth forward. I find with a mentor and with enough time spent, a friend later down the line, it can be a lot easier to achieve goals, move forward and experience new things in life.

I’m glad I took the opportunity to be a mentee and would recommend it to anyone considering or wondering if they should give it a try.