BEST Kids seeks to promote better futures for youth in the District of Columbia’s child welfare system by developing and supporting one-on-one mentoring relationships between the youth and caring, consistent adults.
Mentoring DC's Foster Care Youth
BEST Kids Mentoring Program™ is guided by the belief that all children are talented. Through our one-on-one volunteer mentoring, our extensive training, staff support and our experiential-learning-based peer group, we encourage our youth to discover and develop their unique skills and abilities. Beginning with children as young as six and continuing, as needed, until adulthood, BEST Kids Mentoring Program™ works to enable youth to develop a positive sense of self, to acquire teamwork and group social skills, and to become productive members of society.
2015 Superhero 5K & Fun Run
Our world is full of everyday heroes that often go unnoticed. We took the opportunity to celebrate these heroes at our 3rd Annual Superhero 5K & Fun run for making a positive impact in the lives of youth in DC's foster care. We had our best ever turnout and were able to raise funds to support our mentoring program for these youth. Thank you to all of the sponsors, participants, donors, staff, and volunteers who helped make this event successful and a fun-filled day.
BEST Kids Mentor of the Month
David Hood - March 2015
David and his mentee, Jack, were matched in December. Their match came right around the time that Jack, his younger siblings, and his mother moved into a domestic violence shelter. David readily took on the challenge of supporting Jack's emotional needs. When Jack was placed in psychiatric care in February, David spent hours visiting him and coordinating with his social worker. David signed the two up for the BEST Kids guitar program, Discover Your Sound, knowing what a potentially huge impact learning a musical instrument could have on Jack’s life.
David holds Jack to high standards and holds him accountable for taking care of his guitar and practicing. David continuously provides Jack with the positive reinforcement and positive outlets that are helping him learn to cope with his emotions and encourage great behaviors. When Jack lost his guitar book, he printed out the chords from the internet in order to still be able to practice, and David couldn’t have been more proud of his initiative. Jack has taken learning guitar very seriously and wants to learn to play a song with David. He even said, “Instead of practicing guitar when I’m bored of video games, I’ll play video games only when I’m bored of practicing guitar.” What a duo!
Claire Whitesell - February 2015
Claire has been matched with Alex for just shortly over a year. During that time, they have been able to develop a very close relationship. Claire has been able to support Alex through various transitions in his life and maintains very consistent contact with him. Alex loves to read and Claire takes every opportunity to foster his passion of reading. Trips to the library is a regular outing for Claire and Alex. In addition to the library, Claire has taken Alex to play board games and to the movies. They are currently planning a community service outing together. While Claire is not spending time with Andrew, she checks in on him frequently and finds ways to support him in his academics by connecting with teachers and helping him with schoolwork. We are so grateful for Claire’s constant dedication to Alex!
Tanese Abrams - January 2015
Tanese and her mentee, Victor, had an amazing month together in January! Early in the month, they attended Mayor Muriel Bowser’s inaugural party for kids and the BEST Kids Family Winter Celebration. At both events, they participated in tons of fun activities and games. Victor and Tanese have also been taking guitar lessons with the Discover Your Sound program, and in January they were proud and excited to pass the level one test. They’ve already signed up for the next class! The pair had a great time attending the MLK day parade in Victor’s neighborhood and checking out Monster Jam with some other mentors and mentees. Tanese has started off strong over the last few months as a fantastic mentor for Victor. She is always positive, consistent, and dedicated to helping him understand his worth as a growing person. She makes an effort to understand where he’s coming from and why he does things before responding. We can’t wait to see how these two grow!
“BEST Kids helped me by showing me things that I wouldn’t have been able to do, and they pushed me forward so when I get older I’ll be able to do these things on my own.”