The MENTOR Network

Barbara V. Hawkins Mentor, MENTOR Maryland

While working as a nursing assistant at a Baltimore hospital, Barbara Hawkins met a 12-year-old girl in foster care who had been hospitalized for a number of medical issues. Immediately, she knew the girl was special and Barbara along with her husband Floyd welcomed this young girl into their home through a placement with Maryland’s Department of Social Services (DSS). Her medical condition proved a formidable challenge, however; chronic renal and intestinal problems and cognitive delays demanded increasingly intensive care. Having heard about MENTOR Maryland, Barbara came to the Baltimore Medically Complex Program for the additional support it offered. Since that time, Barbara and Floyd have seen their foster daughter through multiple organ transplants, extended hospitalizations and countless medical complications. On several occasions, doctors told the couple that the girl was not likely to survive, but the Hawkins’ hope would not bend. Their foster daughter received a life-saving transplant in 2003 from the nearest transplant team—four hours away from the Hawkins’ residence. Even when complications extended the hospitalization indefinitely, they never wavered in their dedication. For the next nineteen months, Barbara stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Pittsburgh to be close during the girl’s recovery, and Floyd traveled back and forth every weekend to visit them. Through it all, Barbara and Floyd have remained steadfastly devoted to their foster daughter.