Providing the Needed Connection
Bianca and I were matched almost 2 years ago over lunch at a local restaurant through the Rhode Island Foster Parents Association's Real Connections program, which pairs caring adult mentors with youth in transition. I don't think I ever imagined at that first meeting that today we would be so close. We started meeting every week for a meal and activities in the community. I quickly introduced Bianca to my husband and children and began to include her in our family activities.
One reason I was matched with Bianca was that my family and I live within walking distance of her high school. We encouraged her to come over whenever she needed access to a computer or a quiet place to do her homework after school. Soon she was stopping by regularly before school for cereal and juice, and I began packing a lunch for her too.
Last year Bianca and I focused on her goal of going to college. Together we drove to visit schools and completed her Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. We researched colleges and scholarships and worked together to track deadlines and complete applications.
Last fall, Bianca began college at La Salle University in Philadelphia. It was exhilarating to take her to school and help her furnish her dorm. She stays with us during her school breaks and has made our spare bedroom her own. While I miss having extra closet space, I can't imagine what our family would be like without Bianca. She is truly a member of the family and a source of pure joy in our lives.
- Learn more about the Rhode Island Foster Parents Association's Real Connections Program.
- Read or view more Real-Life Stories.