Monday, April 19, 2010

Tony’s Blog: OMG Daisy is Happy!

This work that we do with a population of wounded and neglected young people can be filled with heartache and tragedy. Often people ask me “how do you do it? How do you see so much pain and handle so much grief without getting depressed?” I usually answer in a philosophical way. Today my answer is “Daisy”.

Daisy came to us a severely wounded, shy and scared little girl. The old phrase “quiet as a church mouse” comes to mind. The past that she endured had left her with almost no self-esteem and clearly no reason to trust adults. However, something inside convinced her that she needed a mentor. I remember asking her early on why she wanted to have a mentor and she sat silent, unable to answer. Eventually I got an almost inaudible “I don’t know” (the most common phrase uttered by teenagers). I asked her if she really wanted to be in the program and with eyes unable to make contact she managed to respond with a barely perceptable affirmative nod. So the adventure begins.

Daisy’s experiences in mentoring had their highs and lows. Through it all I saw this young lady begin to break out of her shell and blossom. As time went on I was fortunate enough to witness the transformation of Daisy as she went through many difficult initiations, each time calling on an undefeatable soul to come back stronger than before. (Maybe someday I’ll be free to tell the whole story.)
I saw this young lady find herself and develop a strength that is hard to imagine, but wonderful to behold. She sacrificed for her family, putting many of her dreams on hold to work to help support the family so that her younger siblings could start to develop their dreams. It wasn’t easy and we had many a tearful session in my office. But she endured and continued to blossom into a powerful young woman. She learned to trust and allowed her present mentor, Suzanne Rico, a strong role model and successful television personality to take her under her wing and help her shine even more. Now she wants to become a news anchor at Univision, inspired by her mentor, but doing it her way. She stopped putting her dreams on hold and is creating a career for herself in TV news while attending Cal State University at Northridge. Recently Daisy participated in a surf contest with us at Rincon Point. Miss “quiet as a church mouse” now finds herself a spokesperson for our mentoring programs, often speaking in front of groups numbering in the hundreds. She has given back by becoming a mentor and jokes about the irony of ending up with a painfully shy, quiet and untrusting mentee. Payback is a ‘you know what’.

Today, many years of “Tony, I don’t know if I can take it any more” are replaced by the e-mail that I just received with the subject titled “Happy Friday”:

HI TONY!!

oh my gosh! I am having such a great month....i am extremely happy regardless of all the cuts that have been done at work doesn’t affect me anyway. I can't even explain how happy i am i should be stressing with school deadlines I’m not...my trip to davis was great! and im going back this weekend. my birthday was great...So one of my friends is throwing a party at the W Hotel in hollywood on sunset. I'll email you the info. Im so excited to go to davis this weekend. i get to see liliana again...she is doing GREAT!!! yeah my co workers are tripping out on me cuz "im too happy and im smiling way too much" lol i cant help it i have no reason besides the fact that this month is the month of my bday and i've decided to embrace it and enjoy it just like im feeding off this high from suzanne she is soo happy and im happy for her just like she is with me. im high on happiness! lots of hugs and kisses i love you so much and i hope i get to see you soon!!!

Daisy

Thank you Daisy for bringing so much love and joy into my life. You are the answer to so many questions about what makes this work fulfilling.

Humbly,

Tony

Tony LoRe
Founder/CEO
Youth Mentoring Connection/Urban Oasis

Founder
Boarding House Mentors

1 comment:

Daisy said...

I'm happy to have in my life Papa Tony and YMC. I will be forever faithful to this Organization for the obvious reason that I am a living proof that mentoring works. You and juliana are the ONLY ones who knew my plans after my roller coaster with mentors after Pat and the only ones (besides my parents & suz)who know me. My heart belongs to YMC and BHM.