Giving back is second nature for Dani.
She grew up in a household that fostered children, she owns a tutoring company for kids, and in 2016 she became a Community of Hope mentor!
Dani mentors nine-year-old LaGeorgia, whose family has remained stably housed since 2012. The pair travels all across DC together, visiting pumpkin patches, attending book festivals and soaking in art at the museums.
“We are lucky to live in a city that has such a wealth of affordable arts and culture activities,” Dani says. “LaGeorgia has taken on everything with an open and curious mind!”
One day, Dani saw Community of Hope’s name on a building and walked in to ask: “how can I help?”
Soon after, she began volunteering at our Marie Reed Health Center by reading books in English and Spanish to children as they waited for their appointments.
“I admire Community of Hope's mission and wanted to do my part to support their efforts.”
Now, as a mentor, she does just that.
By exposing young people to different experiences, helping them with their homework, and simply being a trusted role model and friend, our mentor superheroes – like Dani – help break the cycle of poverty for youth in our housing programs.
According to a report called “The Mentor Effect” by The National Mentoring Partnership, mentoring helps young people, especially at-risk youth, succeed in school, work and life. Children with mentors are more likely to be enrolled in and graduate from college, participate in sports, and hold leadership positions in school and their community.
In many of Dani and LaGeorgia’s outings, lessons are both taught and learned.
“Work hard in school, so you can eventually take on leadership positions and effect change in the world” is the advice Dani gave LaGeorgia during the election season.
LaGeorgia – described as a sweet, confident child and a strong student – soaked the information right in.
“I want LaGeorgia to see firsthand that we can make changes in the world through seemingly small actions. I try to build on her existing values around kindness, health, hard work, education and integrity.”
The mentor-mentee relationship has learning moments for Dani too.
“My mentee teaches me to plunge into life headfirst,” Dani shares.
What’s next for this pair of adventurers? Continuing their exploration of the city!
“We never run out of ideas for our next outing. No new experience is too random for [us].”