How STARS helped me find my community

Meet Haley Pachelo, STARS Mentoring Program Alumna. This is the story of her journey through the STARS Mentoring Program and how it helped her find herself, dream big and become involved in the community.

"Being a mentor/having a mentor has ignited a passion for me to serve others, get involved in philanthropic work, and build meaningful/healthy relationships. My mentor is one of the most influential people I know today and someone I still idolize as a role model. I will never be able to find the right words to thank him for helping me find the path I want to pursue in life."

I first joined the STARS Mentoring Program as a sophomore in high school. Before joining STARS, I felt that I did not have a safe community to share my thoughts, dreams and goals with. I wanted to join STARS because I believed in its ideals and standards. I really enjoyed the mission of STARS and thought that the program was aligned with my life goals. I have so many fond memories from my STARS experience that it is hard to narrow it down. I remember taking a STARS field trip to the University of Denver. It was then that I fell in love with the campus. I attended the STARS National Conference (SNC) which was hosted on the University of Denver campus and confirmed my college decision. I am now a year away from graduating with my bachelor’s in communications and a master’s in social work. The most surprising part of my STARS experience is how everything has come full circle. My mentor became a huge part of my life and still is today. I work for one of the guest speakers I met at SNC when I was 14 and now I am graduating with a friend I made during my time in STARS. It is really amazing to see all the impact that the program had in shaping m y future. STARS ignited a passion for me in non-profit work. It inspired me to begin the process founding a non-profit organization with a college friend, get involved in ministry work, and really commit to who I was. The lessons I learned in STARS gave me the confidence I needed to continue to live a life that follows the STARS model. This is a great organization to get involved with or have your kids involved in during their formative years. This organization fosters positive youth community development and the experience I had would not have been possible without the generosity of FRIENDS FIRST donors your help impacts a number of student’s lives beyond measure.

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