Dione Mason knows all too well what it means to overcome adversity and that you have to play the cards that life deals to you.
A former foster youth, he overcame many odds and has become an educator and productive community activist. He now works as an After School Instructor and Physical Education teacher at E.C. Reems Academy of Technology and Arts in Oakland.
Mason has always known he wanted to make changes in the same system in which he was raised – by touching the life of another young person.
He found a way to do that by working with Seneca Family of Agencies, a leading innovator in the field of education, community-based and family-focused treatment services for children and families.
While he was growing up, Mason was a Seneca foster youth and appreciated the services he received and the caring nature of his foster parent. He says he has known since a teenager that he wanted to become a foster parent. So at age 25 he began the certification process and never looked back.
Seneca works with a mission to provide unconditional care by “helping children and families through the most difficult times of their lives.” Seneca also “recruits, trains and certifies foster parents” to become skilled, patient caregivers.
“Being a foster kid myself I knew once I turned of age this is what I always wanted to do,” he said.
Now at age 27, Mason is married and raising his 16-year-old son.
While there are some challenges, he says his son has grown tremendously in the past seven months and being able to see his growth has been the greatest feeling for him as a parent.
“I feel as if I have already accomplished my main goal as a foster parent,” said Mason.
He says he works to instill core values of what it takes to be man, the importance of giving back to your community and places emphasis on becoming a leader and not a follower.
Ultimately, Mason says, this is his passion – it’s what he lives for and what he is committing his life’s work to – inspiring and reminding young people that they can overcome the adversities of life.