On Wednesday, July 15th at 6:00pm, a group of twenty-three strangers met in St. Mary’s Square. They looked around—some with contagious excitement, others with subdued curiosity—seemingly wondering, Is that him? or I wonder if that’s her? For almost everyone involved, this was the first in-person meeting for newly matched SF Achievers’ scholars and mentors.

 photo 60f5b0a1-79b1-4761-b180-963010fb0336.jpgDeveloping a relationship with a complete stranger can be scary, but with warm smiles, handshakes, icebreakers, and of course…snacks, our group began to forget their worries. By the end of the hour, the pairs had engaged in a round of “Two-Truths and a Lie” and taken strolls around the park playing, “If You Really Knew Me…” (Executive Director, Gregory Collins’ favorite game).

Teams engaged in small tête-à-têtes that covered everything from favorite colors, family histories, to greatest hurdles they have overcome. At the close of the Meet & Greet, many teams were yearning for more time to get to know their new partner. Those wishes were granted as duos dispersed into the city following Program Director, Catherine Bradshaw’s encouragement to: “grab a bite to eat and continue getting to know one another!”

The level of engagement and willingness of complete strangers to sit down and have honest conversations with one another reminded us all that relationships can begin anywhere. It just takes one moment of honesty between two people to transform complete strangers into teammates.

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