Tony Ferraiolo didn’t always have a healthy relationship with his parents. After coming out as transgender in 2004, he didn’t speak to his mom or dad for five years because, at the time, they were unwilling to accept his gender identity. One year later, Ferraiolo mustered up the courage to schedule top surgery.

Shortly after, he said he felt compelled to help kids who found themselves feeling isolated or scared like he did as a teen and adult. He called up True Colors, an LGBTQ non-profit organization based in Hartford, Connecticut, to see where he could provide support.

Through True Colors, Ferraiolo mentored a young trans teen boy who didn’t have much of a relationship with his dad. After a few months of building a trusting and supportive relationship with his mentee, Ferraiolo knew his efforts wouldn’t end there.