Mentee Interview: read all about how Tia’s life was impacted by her mentoring relationship!
Shelley: What happened when you turned 18 and aged out of the foster care system in IN?
Tia: I was thrown out to the wolves (without a support system). People expected me to fall into the same stereotypes as others aging out of the foster care system.
Shelley: How did your mentor, Henecia, impact your life as a young adult aging out of foster care?
Tia: She opened my eyes to a bigger world, a world where someone believes in me and sees my potential versus seeing me as a product of my environment. She was always positive and invested time in me. She helped me structure my future.
Shelley: How would you and Henecia spend your time together?
Tia: She exposed me to art galleries, restaurants (Olive Garden, I had never been to a sit down restaurant!), organic stores, fashion boutiques, family gatherings. Sometimes we would just hang out in my apartment and chill. At first, I was embarrassed to have her over because I didn’t live in the best neighborhood. Then I realized that she approached me without judgment—she accepted me for who I was (not a statistic) and that felt good.
Shelley: What was unique about your relationship with your Trusted Mentor?
Tia: She took me out of my bubble and exposed me to her world. She had done everything that I wanted to do in life…modeling, military, career, etc. She believed in me and helped me figure out what I was good at. She had different resources and connections (for career goals). My relationship with Henecia was personal as she allowed me into her life—we spent holidays together and I got to know her family. She invested her time and energy which showed that she cared about me.
Shelley: What would you say to other young people about mentoring?
Tia: Let someone else in. Don't try to do it alone. It takes being vulnerable but it is so worth it. Henecia helped me create a vision for my future that has been lasting. Our relationship still stands as she is the God mother of my son, Jase.
I had the opportunity to interview Tia as she was scheduled for a modeling shoot for our Virginia Ave. Folk Fest tee (See link below!). Tia and I spent the day together as she also shared her story with a group of young people from River Valley Resources, a partner agency. Following Tia’s talk, three young women asked for mentors! Please contact us on our website www.trustedmentors.org to fill out a volunteer inquiry—we’re always in high need of volunteer mentors (to mentor more Tia’s)! We ask for a one year commitment to make the difference in someone's life.