Mentored Victoria Rowell?
Victoria Rowell is an Emmy-nominated actress and the recipient of seven NAACP image awards. Her television and film credits include The Young and the Restless, Diagnosis Murder, Secret Sins of the Father, and The Distinguished Gentleman. Ms. Rowell spent the first 18 years of her life in foster care. The love, guidance, and support of her foster families instilled in her the confidence and drive to succeed. She is the founder of The Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan and uses her celebrity status as a passionate advocate for foster children throughout the United States.
I spent 18 years in foster care, and all of my mentors were so important to me. If I did not have the mentoring of Agatha Armstead, who of course was just filled with wisdom – she was able to infuse me with not only incredible scruples and morals and all of what was given to her from her history, which she could recall back to the early 1800’s. So I was raised by a woman who had vast knowledge.
Agatha Armstead was an out-of-box thinker ahead of her time, and she really saw the link between education and fine arts. She was a pianist, and she understood the importance of mathematics in that process, she understood how fine art opened the mind and opened one’s thinking in a different way. And so when she knew that I had an aptitude for ballet, she saw that I got into this incredible school in Cambridge. And I don’t quite know how she did it all, but she made it happen for me as a single woman, a senior citizen. There are so many things I could tell you about this warrior. But without her mentoring, without her guidance, without her courage, I could never have experienced such a rich opportunity.
* * *
A person can be a mentor by merely teaching a child how to tell time. Where, in my case, I was going to St. Patrick’s in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and it was presumed I knew how to tell time by the time I reached the fifth grade, but I did not. I was too afraid to tell someone, too ashamed to tell someone I did not know how to tell time, because I had missed it through the odyssey of foster care. Finally, I learned on my own. Roman Numerals were very difficult, now that was a tough clock to read. But someone took the time to teach me how to read Roman Numerals, and that person to me was a champion. That person didn’t laugh or express shock that I didn’t know how to tell the time. They simply said, “Come here, honey, let me show you.” And it’s those mentors that make a difference in a person’s life, whether in foster care or other.