July 17, 2023

The Heartfelt Journey of a Friend at Friends LA: Jessica Aguilar's Story

Discover the profound impact and importance of their full-time, paid role in changing children's lives.

At Friends of the Children Los Angeles (Friends LA), we strive to create a supportive environment that fosters personal growth and development for young individuals. Our organization is dedicated to helping them overcome life's challenges with the guidance of salaried, full-time professional mentors known as 'Friends.'

One outstanding mentor, Jessica Aguilar, has made a significant impact on many lives through her dedication and passion. In this blog post, we explore the driving forces behind Jessica's commitment, the relationships she has nurtured, and the meaningful difference she continues to make in the lives of those she mentors.

A Soul Aligned: The Spark that Ignited Jessica’s Journey

When Jessica stumbled upon Friends LA, it was as if the universe conspired to unite two kindred spirits. She says, “Friends LA’s mission and values align with my career mission and values. The Mentor/Friend job description read too good to be true and has truthfully lived up to a dream job.”

The position resonated with her so profoundly that she felt she had found a place where she truly belonged and could make a meaningful difference. Even though she considers this position part of a journey, she reveals that being a Friend allows her to relish every step toward her career path.

Laying the Foundation: Training Days with Friends LA

For Jessica, the journey was like preparing for a marathon. She remembers the rigorous training days during her first month at Friends LA. “I actively participated in training that I now see directly applicable to every day in my role,” she shares.

On-the-job shadowing allowed her to assimilate the practical aspects of the role, and the thorough training equipped her with the tools she would need. “The preparation process was beyond anything I have experienced in past jobs.”

The Heartfelt Bonds: Jessica’s First Encounters with Children

Jessica's journey is filled with numerous memorable experiences, but one stands out as especially significant. When reflecting on her early interactions, Jessica recalls a particularly impactful moment with a young girl that remains close to her heart.

Jessica surprised her new mentee at a school award ceremony, and the child's tearful response encapsulated what being a Friend meant. “Are you my mentor now?” the little girl asked through tears. The raw emotion of that moment was a turning point for Jessica, who realized that these children had stories bottled up inside them, aching for someone to listen. This was the start of an unbreakable bond.

A Dance of Hope: The Impact of Jessica’s Presence

As Jessica embraced her role, she made indelible impacts in ways she never imagined. A story that she cherishes is when she attended a father-daughter dance with one of her youths. Jessica’s voice dances excitedly as she recounts how her presence reassured the young girl. They danced and twirled together, and at that moment, they were not just mentors and mentees but friends in the purest sense.

She says, “This was an opportunity of a lifetime!” as she recalls how they both still talk about being the best dancers at the school. Through this, the young girl realized that Jessica was there to guide her through life’s significant events.

Growth and Transformation: Jessica’s Personal and Professional Journey

With her heart invested in her work, Jessica has witnessed an incredible transformation within herself. She speaks candidly about the hardships she has faced in her personal life and how working with the youth has motivated her to work through challenges with grace.

Professionally, her confidence in supporting caregivers and families has grown exponentially. “I work with amazing individuals andoutstanding families who, by example, motivate me to be the best I can in all my roles,” she says.

The Importance of Commitment: Being a Full-time, Salaried Friend

Jessica stresses the importance of being a salaried, full-time professional. It has provided her the space, flexibility, and support to efficiently serve families. She points out that the sense of purpose and financial stability make her work even more rewarding.

“I believe if the salary and benefits were not what they are, I would have been on a completely different path. I am so grateful for this opportunity, but I would not have applied without the salary or benefits,” she honestly confesses.

Hopes on the Horizon: Jessica’s Future as a Friend

As Jessica looks toward the future, she yearns to grow professionally and build relationships with her youth and their families. There are challenges, but she hopes the successes outweigh the tough terrains. “My coworkers have shown me what patience and hard work within supporting families is all about.”.

The Dreams of Her Children: The Future Jessica Envisions for Them

Jessica leaves us with a thoughtful insight: "As I build my confidence by working with supportive adults in the lives of young people, I hope my mentees are also developing their confidence to navigate the journey we call life."

The thought of being with them through their triumphs, and watching them turn their challenges into strengths, fills her heart with joy.

A Tapestry of Dreams and Hopes

Within the Friends LA community, Jessica Aguilar tirelessly builds a foundation of dreams and hopes for those she mentors. Through her journey, we are reminded of the importance of empathy, the value of strong connections, and the significant impact one person can have on another's life.

Are you passionate about making a difference in the lives of young people? Join our dedicated team of Friends and embark on a rewarding journey of mentorship and support. Together, we can empower the next generation and create lasting, positive change.

Don't wait – become a Friend today!