"I first heard about the Dare to Dream program when I was applying to be an Austin Angels Case Management Intern. As an intern, I got to learn more about the program in-depth through attending training sessions and finding potential matches for the program!
While I was searching to match volunteers with potential matches as an intern, I came across a youth on the waitlist who was placed in the small town I currently live in. Immediately, I knew that I wanted to become a mentor and support this youth in any way I could! As a recent college graduate, I hoped that my experience with transitioning into young adulthood would help this youth as they aged out of care.
As a mentor, I have learned and embraced the true meaning of resilience. In the past six months, my mentee has surprised me in so many ways! She aged out of care a few months into the program. Since then, I have seen growth in her in the way she is taking charge in her new life situation. She is never afraid to ask questions when she needs help and takes ownership in every decision she makes.
I think the most encouraging part of this experience is growing alongside the youth. At first, I was nervous about building rapport, but from the get-go, we opened up to each other fairly quickly!
When I decided to become a mentor, I knew that one of the biggest challenges would be finding a way to connect during a pandemic. Another roadblock came when my youth moved 2 hours away a few months into the program. However, we have made it work, and when we have met in-person, our favorite activities usually revolve around food! The last time I visited her, I wanted to support a local business, so she introduced me to a charming local cafe where we were able to catch up and enjoy delicious food!
Something I was initially concerned with was safely navigating the program during a pandemic. It takes some creative brainstorming to think of activities that are safe, but still fun and enriching for the youth you are mentoring. Emotional support is especially important right now, and it means the world to them when you check-in to see how they are feeling!" –– Brianna, Dare to Dream Mentor