Critical Connections Matter! - Cynthia and Andrea

I’ve come a very long way. I have gone from entering the foster care system at the age of 15, to being separated from my siblings, being moved in and out of over 10 foster homes, becoming a teenage mother, having my mother passing away, emancipating, and now living on my own. My journey has not been easy, but with the help of my mentor, Andrea, I have been able to persevere. My story is one of resilience and always getting back up every time I seemed to fall. Andrea came into my life in 2018, initially as my mentor through BEST Kids, but has now become a true friend. When I first met her, we clicked instantly. Meeting Andrea was fun because I’d never had anyone in my life who wanted to just be there for me. Anytime I have felt down, needed advice, or simply wanted to talk to someone I knew I could call Andrea to talk. She has helped me prepare for the outside world from advocating for myself through the emancipation process to changing placements several times. Having a mentor has completely changed my outlook on life because I have someone who feels like a best friend. I wish I had known about mentoring earlier in my life. The support I’ve had from Andrea and the team at BEST Kids has meant the world to me. I hope to one-day pass that support along by becoming a foster parent to a child who has had a difficult experience like me.

- Cynthia J, BEST Kids Mentee

Being Cynthia’s mentor has been vital to both her growth process and mine.  When I found BEST Kids, it just felt right. I truly felt as though God was leading me here. When you think of foster care you think of younger children or teens but Cynthia was 20 years old when we were matched. I’m sure our match is a bit different than the typical mentor-mentee relationship. The beautiful thing about meeting Cynthia at this stage in her life is that it allowed me to be truly reflective on my younger years and easily relate to her because we aren’t that far off in age. She’s always had access to her own phone so we’ve used FaceTime, texts, and calls to connect a lot more than a younger mentee probably would. But our relationship is perfect for us. And Cynthia is right! She has come a long way. Over the last two years I’ve watched her grow, mature, and advocate for herself through emancipation and beyond. She’s become a good friend and a really important person in my life. I cherish our relationship because while I can be there for her, she is also there for me. There are many things that Cynthia has experienced, like motherhood, that I have not yet encountered. She is full of wisdom and courage and being her mentor pushes me to be better just as much as it pushes her. Our relationship is truly a two-way street and we are both very grateful for that.

- Andrea C, BEST Kids Mentor

Being a part of BEST Kids has changed both of our lives for the better. We’ve both been able to experience things that we would not have been exposed to without the structure of the BEST Kids program – whether that be building trust with an adult figure who is there because they really care or taking some time out of a busy schedule to simply have fun with a friend and explore the DC area in the process. While we have not been able to do much exploring this year as a result of the pandemic, we are happy to say that we have remained connected and have even been able to see each other in person (following CDC guidelines of course) a few times to catch up. Amid the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, one thing is clear, staying connected to others is critically important and we are proud to say that we’ve been able to stay connected to one another through this season.  It has been invaluable for both of us! Without programs like BEST Kids, children and young adults in the foster care system may not have a loving and supportive community. You can help support the mission of BEST Kids and help keep all of the 100 mentor-mentee matches together through these especially challenging times by donating today!   

Learn more about our relationship here:

Every dollar counts. Even if you aren’t able to donate, please share with your friends. This is your chance to support youth in foster care throughout the DC Metro area. All donations support one-on-one mentoring relationships through BEST Kids, Inc. and are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. You can learn more at

About BEST Kids:

BEST Kids, Inc. is a nonprofit mentoring organization that empowers youth in foster care to build better futures, one child at a time. Through one-on-one mentoring we encourage our youth to discover and develop their unique skills and abilities. BEST Kids works to enable youth to develop a positive sense of self, to have fun, and to become productive members of society.
  • Antoinette Saddler 
    • $250 
    • 9 mos
  • Richard and Carol Gross 
    • $100 
    • 9 mos
  • Aravind Srinivasan  
    • $50 
    • 10 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $500 
    • 10 mos
  • Marque Harris 
    • $5 
    • 10 mos
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Fundraising team (4)

Andrea Cilliers 
Raised $500 from 3 donations
Washington D.C., DC
BEST Kids, Inc. 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
Learn more
DanTalisha Deans 
Team member
Raised $450 from 6 donations
Mike Lints 
Team member
Raised $100 from 1 donation
Nia Brown 
Team member
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