Bonnie and Kada

Update during the COVID-19 Pandemic:
Bonnie: “Kada and I have been connecting by text. One thing we started doing was keeping a running list – as we think of them – of things we want to do when this whole thing is over and we can see each other again. It’s fun to come up with stuff and gives us things to look forward to.”

About This Match: I am honored to nominate Bonnie Ferro and Kada as King Street Center’s 2020 Mentor and Mentee Ambassadors. As Bonnie shared: “Seven years ago I approached Gabe about becoming a King Street Mentor. At the time, Gabe cautioned that it was a one-year commitment. Once I said that wouldn’t be a problem, she enthusiastically declared, ‘That’s great because I have the perfect match for you!!!’ And so Kada and I were matched and one year turned into seven and we both agree, it would be hard to picture life without the other. Ever! What do we do together? We pick berries, we pick apples, we carve pumpkins, we get lost in corn mazes, we float down the White River. We bake cookies, we bake cupcakes…we talk about school, we talk about friendship issues, and family. I attend graduations and choral concerts, and go on school field trips. We eat cremees, we get pedis. We laugh and cry, and care about each other.”

“When Kada was six, we joked that our mentoring relationship would end when she grew taller than me, yet here she is now at 14 towering over me. And although I always assumed that as Kada approached her teen years, the appeal of hanging with a middle-aged woman would wane, just the opposite has proven true. As Kada navigates the challenges of adolescence, the importance of our visits and ‘chats’ has only grown. ‘Two peas in a pod,’ her mom calls us – and it is true. We are grateful to have each other in our lives and neither could picture life without the other.”

I have witnessed their relationship grow over the past seven years and it is a testament to the power of steady long-term relationships. As Bonnie said, navigating adolescence is complicated so it’s great that Kada has another adult, besides her wonderful loving mom Kashka to talk to. Kashka had initially thought the mentor program would provide her a few hours a week of needed reprieve. However, she goes on to say, “Today, I can say that the relationship not just with Bonnie and Kada, but with all of us, is a special and everlasting friendship. It is rooted in trust, and a commitment to be ‘a constant’ in an otherwise ever changing fabric of life. Bonnie has become a trusted friend and confidant, for all of us. We cannot express eloquently enough the magnitude of gratitude that we hold, for having been given such a gift. Perhaps when the girls are grown, I will be in a position to pay it forward, and become a mentor myself.”

Bonnie and Kada often come to the yearly apple picking event. They stroll up arm and arm, smiles and giggles, as they collect their bag for apples. Often lingering long enough to share tales of their latest adventures. Kada’s eyes widen as she enthusiastically talks about Bonnie. It does not matter if they are floating down a river or if Bonnie is attending her concerts. What is crystal clear is that being with Bonnie is what’s special. Bonnie echoes these sentiments. It is true that love, consistency, reliability, dependability, trust, and affection are the key elements of the magic potion.

Bonnie and Kada were nominated as Ambassadors for Mentoring by Gabriella Tufo Strouse, community outreach director at the King Street Center, and were honored by Comcast at the 2020 Mentoring Celebration

Name of Mentor: Bonnie Ferro
Name of Mentee: Kada
Mentoring Program: King Street Center’s Junior Senior Buddies
Program Type: Community-Based
Length of Their Match: 7 years
Age of Mentee: 14

Bonnie and Kada were honored by Comcast and MENTOR Vermont as 2020 Vermont Ambassadors of Mentoring!