I thought I was ‘broken’ and unable to be confident because of the things that happened to me in my past. I was told almost everyday of my childhood that I was stupid, and as an adult I often still believed it. I had a negative self-image when trying new things and when stepping out of my comfort zone. Even though I successfully raised two children and was happily married with a successful career, I was not very confident. This was especially true when I spoke in public and was faced with new challenges.
I realized that CYAR is not only changing our immediate future, but generations to come.At CYAR we learn how to communicate and relate to each other without interference from our judgments. We learn how to be straight and real with one another and to be truly authentic. They set the stage called “safe space,” where everyone can share about their experiences and open their hearts to each other. Having a community of people who have my back and have supported me has been such an amazing gift.
The first day that I went to pick up my new mentee, her Mom gently said, “Juli doesn’t need a mentor.” Just two months ago her mom said, “I’m so glad that you were Juli’s mentor!” I love Juli’s family values, her tender heart and her willingness to help others.
Juli graduated in 2008 and has earned her certificate to be a CNA and is currently working in home healthcare. She and I have been through some difficult times together; the loss of my mom last summer and her sister in February. We have created a life-long friendship and I am so blessed to have her in my life!
My other mentee, Vanessa, was a young woman who had some challenging circumstances in her life. Her new dedication to her education and being successful is just awesome. While doing homework and filling out applications for scholarships late into the night, we created a wonderful friendship that will last forever. The day that Vanessa graduated from high school, her little nieces were playing ‘go to college’ and pretending to get their diploma. It was then when I realized that CYAR is not only changing our immediate future, but generations to come. Vanessa earned the Daniels Fund Scholarship and is currently enrolled in Hastings College. She is so inspiring!
I signed up to become a mentor and was surprised that the two young women I was paired with inspired and challenged me to grow and learn during some challenging circumstances in my life. I now am able to be more self-expressed and make powerful choices in my life. I have revitalized all of my relationships in my life, but most of all I am at peace with who I am. I’m so inspired by both of these beautiful and amazing women and this organization. Since becoming a mentor, I have completed CYAR’s year-long Leadership Training Program (LTP) and am now a certified facilitator. I actually get up and speak in front of people! This has been an incredible journey, and I am so grateful for this experience.