November 29, 2023

What I've Learned in 20 Years at Friends-Seattle

Read about one of many memorable moments for our Chief Outreach and Engagement Officer, Edgar Masmela, as he celebrates 20 years working at Friends of the Children-Seattle

Last month, I celebrated 20 years of working at Friends of the Children-Seattle. As 2023 comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on a question I’ve been asked many times over the last two decades at Friends of the Children-Seattle, How do I know this works? "This" being our 12+ year mentorship model utilizing salaried, professional mentors.

I mentored a youth in our program when he was in the eighth grade. For our first outing, I asked him what he wanted to do, and he mentioned he'd never flown a kite. After some research, we found the perfect kite, assembled it with care, and planned to fly it together.

One day, he had a tough time at school and even had a conflict with his teacher. We talked about how he could handle it better, and he agreed to apologize to his teacher the next day. During our drive, he noticed we were headed in a different direction from his home, and he asked where we were going. I told him, "We're going to fly that kite," and he responded with a huge smile on his face. He thought he had lost the opportunity to do something he wanted to do because of his behavior that day.

At the park, his excitement was amazing as we watched the kite get lost in the sky, and in that moment, everything clicked.

I remained by his side until he graduated from high school. Today, that young man is flourishing. He is a father and recently bought his own house. He even sent me a picture of him and his son...flying a kite.