By Roberto Rodriguez
A friend of mine recently invited me to a weekend event for an organization called Kidsave. She described it as a very special event where they bring adults to spend a little time with children, who essentially have no family or stability in their lives.
The basic idea is to find mentors or host families to spend at least 2 days a month with older foster youth, 9–17. The youth at Kidsave are often open to being adopted and while Kidsave is working hard to find them a permanent home before they age out of the system, they ask the mentors to actively advocate on their behalf, provide emotional support, and serve as a safety net to keep the youth in school and on path towards a productive adulthood for a period of a year.
I went not with the idea of becoming a host or mentor (because my life situation doesn’t permit this at this time), but simply to volunteer for the event, which took place at a hair salon, Estetica, in Woodland Hills. I was hesitant, but I went anyway. My friend’s enthusiasm convinced me to give a few hours of my day for the opportunity to bring a little light to these children.
So Sunday, March 17, I showed up to the event. To say that it was a humbling experience is an understatement. While the children and young teens were getting their hair done, I began to help out a bit, carrying boxes and things like that. After that, I thought I was going to the volunteer orientation, but instead I stumbled into a presentation for the 15 or so potential hosts. Each one of the potential hosts told their own story, of what had brought them there. It reminded me of the expression “cada cabeza es un mundo” (rough translation: Every head is its own world). Everyone, of different ages and cultures and races, had their own moving story to tell of why they were there that Sunday.
If that’s all I had gone for, that would have been enough. However, the most special part of the “program” was about to begin.