• Emily Lavin

Once-troubled teen reunites with her mentor after 20 years


Belvedere’s Nancy Frumkes (right) mentored Heather Ringo through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area when Ringo was about 12 (below) but had lost touch until Ringo turned to Twitter for help in her search.

Belvedere resident Nancy Frumkes came into Heather Ringo’s life at a time when Ringo desperately needed someone to care about her — even if Ringo didn’t fully realize it.


The two were matched up through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area when Ringo was about 12 years old and living in Corte Madera, and Ringo doesn’t mince words when she describes herself at that age. She was acting out, running away, getting into fights and frequently skipping school.


“I had turned into, excuse my language, a total a--hole,” says Ringo, now 33 and living in Fairfield.


Their time together was short-lived; Ringo flaked on their meetings too frequently and was eventually terminated from the program. Meanwhile, her behavior escalated as she grappled with her dad’s illness and death from ALS, and her family eventually sent her out of state to a facility for at-risk girls, where she says she endured additional trauma and abuse.

It wasn’t until years later, with the help of therapy and her own cultivated support system of friends and mentors, that Ringo realized the significant impact Frumkes had on her — and she recently had the urge to tell her just that.


There was just one problem: It had been two decades since the two had last seen each other, and she couldn’t even remember Frumkes’ name. So she turned to the internet, posting a picture of herself and Frumkes on Twitter from their time in the program and asking if anyone could identify Frumkes and help her get in touch.


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