When Yolanda was in 3rd grade she knew she wanted to do something really different with her life but she hadn’t been born into a family that promoted “out of the box” thinking. Challenged with many obstacles in her personal life, Yolanda gave up and hit rock bottom.
When Starfish first met her it was on a routine house visit to a different student. Yolanda had heard of Starfish and found her way into the visit where she sat inconspicuously in the corner. Towards the end of the visit time she stood up, gave and impassioned, impressive and heart wrenching speech. She wanted to go on. She enrolled in the program the next day, one day before high school applications closed.
At first she didn’t get along with the other girls in her mentorship group. They were friendly and welcoming. She was unresponsive. After the meetings she stuck around, spoke with her mentor and cried buckets. Having a mentor in your life can be an enormous force for healing. Today Yolanda is well on her way to a fantastic future. Her leadership abilities are constantly on display when she heads discussions groups, models participation, always has something important and relevant to contribute. Grades are stellar. She is good friends with the other girls. A few hours a week she works in the Starfish office. In her words: “In the past I didn’t realize I needed to be responsible. I didn’t know I had anything to offer. I’ve changed a lot.”
Beneath her pretty smile with perfect teeth, her movie star look-alike beauty, there’s still that 3rd grade girl. Again in her words: “And one day I’m going to be the first woman mayor of my community. I’m going to make it better for the other women here. It’s my dream. I know I can do it.
Posted on June 9, 2011