Pay it Forward icon 1Pay It Forward

Connor Mendozaconnor

We all struggle at times. We think that we are alone, but we are not. We can and need to support each other. This is our community. When we support each other, we are giving back to our community. Often today, our communities are divided. It shouldn’t be like that. We can begin to break down those divides when we pay it forward to others in the community. There are benefits for people on both ends of an act of kindness. When you are on the receiving end, you feel supported, cared for, and a sense of belonging. When you help others, you can gain a greater understanding for others, an increased sense of empathy, and a feeling of joy and togetherness.

When I was leaving care, my foster mother paid my first, second, and third month’s rent, AND my deposit! She told me that if I earned and saved enough money, I could pay her back, but I didn’t have to. I felt that she genuinely cared and was willing to help me, even though I was out of care and technically not her responsibility anymore. I felt like I belonged. I felt loved. It had been a long time since I had felt loved unconditionally. I realized she wasn’t a foster parent for the money, but to support me and all the other young people that enter her home. Years later, I am in still in contact with my foster mom and help her with her yard and other household needs. I want to help her so that she can continue to help others.

You don’t have to give three month’s rent and deposit to pay it forward. The important part is giving what you have, whether it’s money or time or love, and giving it unconditionally. As the Three Musketeers say, “All for one and one for all.”

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We welcome submissions of articles, poetry, artwork, and photography from our young readers who have experience in the foster care system and/ or homelessness. If you want to be, or have been, published in the Mockingbird Times visit, call us at (206) 407-2134 or email us at youthprograms@ Note: Incoming letters to the editor and correspondence to youth under 18 years should be addressed to the Mockingbird Times and will be opened first by adult editorial staff.