Honoring Remarkable Mentors Who Are Helping Change Lives!

Meet Catalina & Merri

I have known my mentor Merri since July of 2021 and even though she is technically my mentor, I see her more as my friend. Merri has encouraged me to be open-minded when it comes to different situations, and she has taught me that nothing will be resolved without communication. She helped me find my voice in different situations and helps me see things from different perspectives that I wouldn’t have considered before. She supports my ideas when it comes to school and sometimes suggests other options for me. For example, which classes to take, how summer classes could be a good option, as well as how to balance my friends, family, and a job. She is a great listener and makes me feel supported in all that I do. Some of my favorite things that we do together include going on hikes, getting coffee, and spending time with her golden doodle dog, Sunny. I enjoy my time with Merri and I’m thankful to have her as a friend and mentor.

Catalina, Promises2Kids Guardian Scholar

Tonya Torosian

Meet Aleena & Lisa

Guardian Scholar Aleena and her mentor Lisa Susca were recently featured in Giving Back magazine. Aleena had this to say about Lisa’s impact on her life:

“She doesn’t look at me like a foster youth, rather as any other young adult. Lisa is like a mother to me. She doesn’t judge me for my background and where I came from. She pushes me to be a better mom. She is someone I can always count on, which is something I’ve never had. I appreciate her every time I talk to her.”

Read the full article here: (pages 38-39)

Tonya Torosian

Meet Kasper & Hector

My mentor Brian Kasper (who I call Kasper) is in the Navy and volunteers his spare time to be my mentor. He is saving me from becoming another one of society’s foster care statistics.

Kasper and I were connected over two years ago. He demonstrates the importance of leadership, hard work, and commitment. It is a privilege to take guidance from someone who has also been in foster care because it is more comforting having a mentor who understands.

I wasn’t utilizing my resources to the point that I became homeless. My grades went from A’s and B’s to 3 F’s and 2 withdrawals, I lost my job, got arrested twice and was questioning if pursuing my education was still something I wanted to do. I struggle with believing in myself, and it’s honestly a battle that I face every day. With Kasper’s help, I’m learning how to utilize tools and resources that are helping me get back on track. Kasper has helped me with my finances, finding a job, and much more. He consistently supports and motivates me.

Kasper has had a huge impact on my life. He has been a fantastic mentor and is guiding me on the right path. I hope I can be a mentor just like him in the future and achieve my goals of helping other people.

Hector, Promises2Kids Guardian Scholar

Tonya Torosian

Meet Elisabeth and Lisa

My mentor Lisa Laube has gone above and beyond for me. As someone who grew up in a low-income household, I wanted to make something more of myself and seek academic guidance. Being the first person in my family to attend college, I felt like I had no one to turn to – until I met Lisa. She saw the potential in me before I did and does everything she possibly can to ensure I succeed in college. She encouraged me to apply for scholarships and went out of her way to help me collect the documents I needed when I was lacking them. I had already given up, but she never took “no” as an answer.

So here I am, a recipient of two scholarships that have helped me pave the way – thanks to her. She has been by my side every step of the way, from helping me with financial aid to signing up for my first classes, to attending every scholarship event. I talk with Lisa weekly, and we always discover new diners and cafes to meet at. Lisa was one of the first people I called when I got accepted into SDSU, and reached out to when I received my internships. It amazes me to see how much one can give without expecting anything in return. Lisa helps me grow academically, professionally, and personally – and that is precisely what having a mentor is all about.

Elisabeth, Promises2Kids Guardian Scholar

Tonya Torosian

Meet Precious and Loren

I am a 26-year-old college student studying Culinary Arts Entrepreneurship. I’ve been in and out the foster care system since I was 15. I am the first in my family to attend college, which has been big challenge for me. I have had my ups and downs with school. Being in foster care with many different mentors, therapists, and peers prevents me from opening up. I’ve had so many mentors, but I never met the right one until now.

When I first got accepted as a Promises2Kids Guardian Scholar, I never imagined being matched with my awesome mentor Loren Goldstein. When I did, she and I connected pretty quickly. We’ve been to a few events together and like taking my son to the park. She encourages me to take care of myself, especially after losing a few friends recently. Loren was even able to talk me out of my depressed stage. She keeps in touch with me regularly and checks in to see how I’m doing. Having Loren around makes me feel like she’s the right mentor because she really understands me and my goals in life. I couldn’t ask for a better mentor.

Precious, Promises2Kids Guardian Scholar

Tonya Torosian

Meet Antoinette and Nancy

Growing up in the foster care system meant constant change – new placements, new social workers, etc. My experience with having a mentor thus far has been the opposite, someone who has been there consistently and it’s really nice because that’s not what I experienced in the past. In fact, I didn’t know what a mentor was until I was introduced to my mentor, Nancy Cox. Nancy is someone who I can talk freely with, someone who supports me and someone who has such a caring heart. We’ve learned a lot about each other through shopping, it’s my favorite thing to do with Nancy! She also attends meetings with my counselor, housing program and social worker. She cares about my health, I know that because she took be to get my COVID vaccine! She’s currently helping me study for my permit exam so I can get my driver’s license and hopefully get my first car. Nancy is so wise and she’s always finding ways to teach me, share her knowledge and experience with me. She’s like my own little, wise owl. What I love about Nancy is that she doesn’t expect anything but communication from me. The mantra we are living by is “help me help you” and I feel good about that because she reminds me to seek help when I need it.

Antoinette, Promises2Kids Guardian Scholar

Tonya Torosian