A mentor's connection to a teen transforms both

Published October 14 2012
Updated October 15 2012

In her book An Invisible Thread, Laura Schroff tells the story of how she befriended an 11-year-old panhandler on a New York City street and how the encounter blossomed into a years-long, life-changing relationship for her and Maurice.

The "invisible thread" comes from a Chinese proverb about how something connects two people who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance.

Schroff shared her story last week at a luncheon for Starting Right, Now.

It mirrors the work of the Tampa-based nonprofit, which helps homeless families and unaccompanied youths.

The teens in its program each receive a mentor, plus experiences that awaken their dreams and infuse them with hope.

Starting Right, Now's work will grow with Bank of America awarding it a $200,000 grant.

For the rest of us, pay attention when the invisible thread tugs at your heart. …

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Big week for Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Her documentary Miss Representation, which examines how the media contribute to underrepresentation of women in positions of power, will be screened Tuesday at Tampa Theatre thanks to the Junior League of Tampa. On Friday, Newsom speaks at the University of South Florida Women in Leadership & Philanthropy Seventh Annual Fall Symposium. …

I'm speaking Saturday at the Times Festival of Reading at USF St. Petersburg, but my dream is to someday see my son there as a featured author. He says he's going to write the next great American novel, and I'm not betting against him.

That's all I'm saying.