I decided to get involved with DCFYI after spending time with my teenage nieces and realizing I actually enjoy spending time with teenagers.   My own slightly rebellious style fits perfectly with this demographic.

As an entrepreneur, I have always done things my own way. I am not shaken very easily. Teenagers try to shake you and they try to get under your skin, and I just enjoy it. I think it’s a really fun challenge and a really fun place to be and I’ve never like diapers, so it’s perfect for me. I look at volunteering with DCFYI as an opportunity to be an aunt to teenagers who need a positive influence.

When I started with DCFYI three years ago I was not sure how involved I would become. But I became a mentor for one wonderful teen mother who graduated with honors and continues to make for herself an impressive life by anyone’s standards.  She is bright, talented and amazes me every time I have the pleasure of spending time with her.  We were able to get her into an independent living situation with her son, and she started college and by all counts is succeeding greatly!

More recently I became a licensed foster parent and created a home for another one of DCFYI’s youth who I met at my first DCFYI event where she taught me a three point shot. She was just so charming, and personable, and wonderful, and lovely, and through the events, we were able to connect more and more over the years.

After tragedy struck her life, she was at risk of not graduating high school, despite previously having been an honor roll student. I thought to myself, “I’ve known you since you were 15; you don’t get to just not graduate.” I wanted to offer her another path. So, I made a deal with her:  If you do all the work you need to do and take the classes you need to take to graduate from high school, then I’ll do all the paperwork I need to do and take the classes I need to take to become your foster care parent.

Overall, as a member of the DCFYI community, my effort never feels difficult, I show up, I am present, I’m me, full of flaws and authentic, and somehow that authenticity makes it easier for all humans to connect.  One thing I’ve realized is if you reflect their own potential to the teens, they can have extraordinary lives that are the complete opposite of where their fate may have taken them otherwise.

I know that they know if they need something they can call me; and that’s all DCFYI asks of its’ community members, to be there for someone else. It’s such an easy place for me to show up and bonus, it feels rewarding to make a difference.