I have always been fascinated by the differences in what each of us remembers - for example, how two people could share an experience and yet remember totally different aspects of it.
I have been thinking about this lately because of some funny conversations I have had with DCFYI teens. I will mention an adult by name. Teen professes to have no idea who I am talking about and asks for a description (not so helpful because I am not a visual person). So I find a photo or do a better job of reminding the teen where he or she met the adult. A light bulb goes off and of course teen knows who the adult is.
I have come to understand that for many teens in care there are just too many adults who come and go in their lives. It is hard to remember names and why bother if you expect this adult to be like all the others and simply disappear?
And as much as any adult thinks he or she is different and plans to stick around, the teen has no way of knowing that. If your past experience is that adults are not consistent, it can take a long time to believe otherwise.
For a new DCFYI volunteer it can feel like a slog to come to lots of events before teens begin to warm up. But the teens need to see an adult over and over again before they believe that adult is going to stick around. They may not remember a name right away but they see who is coming to events.
One of the things I particularly love is to see the end result when a teen develops a real connection with an adult. Those relationships are why being consistent and showing up until a teen is ready to trust and connect is so important.