Investing in the future | Editorial

Cali Bagby and Adia Dolan.

Cali Bagby and Adia Dolan.

There seems to be two periods in my life: the one before I met Adia and the one after.

For almost two years I have been an unofficial mentor to Adia Dolan, a vibrant, talented and now 16-year-old overall superstar, whether it comes to soccer or theater or enjoying life in general.

When people asked me how I came into Adia’s life, “I say, ‘I didn’t have a choice – she chose me.’”

After meeting on the set of “Oliver” at Orcas Center in 2013, it was clear that Adia and I would have a beautiful friendship.

I’m not the only person who has been lucky enough to be chosen. She has a host of people guiding her from her father to many friends and islanders who have known her since she was a little girl. After her mother died five years ago, figures like her official mentor, Suzanne Olson, became even more critical to Adia’s life. For a story on Suzanne and Adia’s latest experience together, see page two.

As her mentor, or as she calls me her “sister figure,” I have learned some hard lessons such as how to set boundaries and how to make time for calamities that one cannot predict – like the terrifying moment when Adia showed up at my office after being bumped by a car. She came away with only a few scratches, but it was a reminder of how unsafe the world can be.

Last week when we ran a story about Cooper Rankin, another exceptional young member of our community, I thought of the importance of having strong and healthy influences on students on this island. I often hear people say, “It takes an island to raise a child,” and I belive it’s true.

What is even more valuable is that when we invest in others, especially younger others, we invest in ourselves and grow as people.

Despite all the growing pains we have experienced together, most of the time Adia and I just have fun. Whether I’m watching her fierceness on the soccer field, having a quick chat when she comes by the office or taking a lovely hike and listening as she breaks into song, it’s always a bit of an adventure.

One way to get involved in your own adventure is to be a part of the Funhouse Mentor Program. According to the Funhouse staff, the Mentor Program is perhaps the most important thing they do.

Email to find out how you can become a mentor.

– Cali Bagby