To hold space for someone means to stand in the gap where either someone used to be in their lives or where someone needs to be with them. Sometimes, it’s showing up to sit with a friend in mourning, or taking a child without an opportunity to go fishing to the river. We can’t think of a more underserved population in the USA that needs people to show up and hold space for them as much as youth in foster care. They need to know they are worth our time, they are not walking this difficult path alone, and that there are still good people in the world willing to help them through this most chaotic time in their lives.
The Mayfly Project is dedicated to holding space for youth in foster care because we understand their need for opportunities to disconnect from life’s stressors and to connect with the great outdoors. We don’t always know what the youth in our care have been through, and we may not always have the answers of what is happening next, but what we can do, together, is show up, be a positive light, and take them somewhere they get to just be a kid for a while.
We always say, “It takes a village,” when it comes to mentoring youth in foster care and working together to make what sometimes feels like the impossible, take flight. This year, we have so many success stories from youth being adopted, foster kids becoming fishing friends, young adults aging out of the foster care system and using a fly rod to cope, to mentors who are meeting up across the country because they have found a fly fishing family in The Mayfly Project. Together we have provided over 400 river experiences this year, and have given the gift of a fly rod to over 300 youth in foster care.
We believe so strongly that every child should have the opportunity to walk in a river and relish in the pride of catching a fish, that we’re saying yes to a possible 38 projects, for 2019, in 28 States, which is double the impact we had this year. We are committing to creating more biographical videos in order to assist youth up for adoption in finding a forever home, implementing new parts of our program that will encourage long-term growth and a long-term impact on the youth we mentor.
With almost 200 mentors across the USA, many fishing companies, private donors, Facebook fundraisers, grantors and those spreading the word about TMP, we are honored to take care of children in foster care with you. We ask that as you consider what your personal impact will be for 2019, you will continue to consider holding space with us, and helping us take care of youth in foster care-- to build a better future for a child and raise up a conservation-minded generation!
Thank you for holding space with The Mayfly Project!
~Kaitlin Barnhart, Co-Founder and Project Coordinator, The Mayfly Project