Seven years ago, Sydney was a quiet, creative kid. While she loved singing, dancing, and acting, something led her to shy away from the spotlight. Change was just on the horizon when she joined G.O.O.D. for Girls (GfG) at age nine, eager to be part of a group that helps girls like her build confidence. GfG is a community-based leadership development and mentoring program with a clear mission:
“Girls are the rising backbone of the world, and we must teach and encourage them to unapologetically take their place in it… We are empowering young girls to break the glass ceiling and become major game changers in school, at work, and in life.”
Through GfG, Sydney met Dalphine, a lifelong social justice and civil rights advocate – and now, her mentor! Having worked with young people in the juvenile justice field and as a social worker, Dalphine knew she found uplifting girls and giving back to her community extremely rewarding. Becoming a mentor seemed like a logical path to continue the work she loves.
Building Trust Over Time
Things started slowly. Sydney, still developing confidence, felt reluctant to talk to her mentor at first. However, as she became more comfortable, Sydney revealed her bubbly personality, and the pair quickly bonded over their love of theater and Italian food. Dalphine was excited to meet someone “who liked to talk as much as her,” and the two began meeting to watch a play or grab a bite to eat.
"The best part of having my mentor, Ms. Dalphine, is having someone I can talk to about anything. Someone I can express my opinions and thoughts to, engaging in a lively and memorable conversation… We also love to eat! Once she learned I liked Italian food, we decided to explore as many [restaurants] as we could," said Sydney.
With a Mentor Waiting in the Wings
As Sydney grew, her passion for music and dance bloomed with her. A motivational nudge from Dalphine – along with the support of her friends at GfG – empowered her to pursue musical theater and let her star shine. Now 16, Sydney remains close with Dalphine, who has attended nearly all her productions.
“It is my favorite activity with my mentor. When I come out of the dressing room after a show, knowing she will be there smiling and arms ready for a hug excites me,” Sydney said. “She is truly my number one supporter.”
Staying Connected, Seven Years Strong
Since the pandemic, there are fewer shows and opportunities to meet in person, but both Sydney and Dalphine look forward to their weekly calls. No longer lost for words, they discuss everything from current events to what’s going on in their lives, and this regular connection brings them closer.
"My relationship with Ms. Dalphine is unique because we are very different people and we often have conflicting opinions, but we can talk about them and come to conclusions where we both learn something new,” Sydney explains. "She helped me blossom into the person I am today, and I enjoy spending time with her. I am so blessed and grateful to have her as my mentor.”