16-year-old Rodney hoping to find a mentor - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

16-year-old Rodney hoping to find a mentor

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If you've always wanted to help a foster child, but aren't in the position to adopt, being a mentor could be the perfect fit. There are dozens of foster kids who are on a waiting list to find a mentor.

Sixteen-year-old Rodney wants to be a lawyer one day and he'd like a mentor by his side, to help guide him down a path to success.

"I feel like everybody needs that one person they can count on. I would like that," said Rodney.

He's about to turn 17 and is the foster care system, so Rodney will be on his own in just one short year, but in the meantime, he has just one wish - to have a mentor.

"I don't have that many adult figures I can look up to or say hey, can we go somewhere or can we do this," Rodney continued.

And, he's not asking for much:

"See a movie, dinner, go to the beach, walk around the mall, just simple things."

Rodney is currently living in a group home and says the days can seem long.

"There's not that much love and support that I feel every child should have, so it's kind of more on the lonely side because I feel I don't have anybody at times," Rodney added.

And Rodney needs someone to give him some guidance and support. This young man has high hopes and dreams:

"I want to study law, I want to become a prosecutor. So I'm trying to go to UC Santa Barbara, then after law school. I'm trying to study abroad too, so I can go out there and experience the world a little bit."

He's already done some traveling across the state. He was invited to Sacramento to speak to state leaders about new foster care legislation and just recently he was selected to speak on a panel in Anaheim to share his story with volunteers who work with foster kids.

"It kind of gives them hope they can change another kid's life," Rodney said.

Rodney credits dedicated teachers for helping change his life. When he first entered high school, he nearly flunked out, with no one to help guide him, but now that he's in a better school and this 12th grader is excelling:

"Last year, my overall GPA was 3.83. I had all A's and one B."

Despite his drive, Rodney could really benefit from the stability of a supportive adult in his life.

"The main thing they need is somebody to be committed to them, be consistent and be somebody they can count on that's going to be there for them and spend that regular time with them," explained Noreen Harmelink with the Foster Youth Mentor Program.

"Everybody tells me you won't succeed. You're just going to be another statistic and just going to fall back like your parents," Rodney explained.

But Rodney says he's determined to prove them wrong, saying:

"It's kind of scary because sometimes I let it get to me. But at the end of the day, I know I'm actually going to become something, no matter what anybody says. I am going to go to college. I am going to become a lawyer, and I'm going to do all these things."

If you're interested in becoming involved in San Diego County's Foster Youth Mentor Program, please call 619-767-5222 for more information.

The county says there's a big need for male mentors, in particular. There are approximately 85 kids are on the waiting list right now and about 70 of them are boys.

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