Success Stories ::

Even though you might feel like the odds are against you to succeed, we KNOW you can!

This is a real story about a real girl who grew up in foster care, but rose above her circumstance and is now looked to for help from other foster youth. At the end of her story, she gives advice to other foster youth on how to succeed.

For the protection of the youth, her name is changed to Anne

At the age of 12 years old, Anneís mother had passed away and she was placed in kinship care with her aunt, along with her younger sister. During Anneís 10 month stay with her aunt she and her sister were surrounded by a negative environment. Her aunt kept the social security checks that Anne and her sister were receiving from the state for her motherís death, leaving the two girls with no money to support themselves. Before long, the sisters decided to move out. After sometime living with friends, Anne was placed into foster care by CPS (Child Protective Services). The girls were placed in a local shelter together, where they rebelled and ran away often. The shelter was not an ideal atmosphere for a young person to be in. Soon, Anne was separated from her sister and the two were placed in separate group homes.

The group home Anne was living in was a faith-based Christian home. She was able to participate in worship and go to school. But, Anne began using drugs and was removed from that group home and placed in another shelter. Throughout these transitional times, Anne constantly had to transfer from school to school and change her jobs. At one point, contact with her sister was cut off and she was no longer permitted to speak to her. Her sister was in and out of jail at this time and having no contact with her severely affected their relationship.

Anne then moved into a group home for anger management teens. This home was very small and cramped. It was run by two women who were constantly antagonizing the girls and putting them down. Their form of grounding was to have the girls sit on their beds throughout the entire day. You could not speak to anyone, go outside, watch television, or make phone calls; this would go on for months. Anne had even reached out to the police for help because she knew the way she was being treated in that group home was wrong. After being ignored by the police because they did not believe her, Anne was beginning to lose all hope.

Her senior year of high school, Anne began taking a law enforcement class to follow her passion for speaking out against injustices. However, because these were extra classes, she was forced to pay class fees that she could not afford. When the teacher approached her about this she told him her situation and he covered the fees for her. The next day, he came in with the proposal of fostering Anne and her sister because he and his wife could not have children of their own. Anne was able to move in with the family after 7 months of fighting for their certification to be approved. After about a year, Anne realized that the checks that came in from the state and her bank account were disappearing. Anne soon found out that her foster mom had been stealing money from her and her sister. Her foster mom had been the cosigner to Anneís bank account and used that authorization to take advantage of her. Soon after all this happened, Anneís foster parents got a divorce and she lived with her foster dad for some time. But, he got a new girlfriend and she did not want foster kids, so she made the decision to move in to a place on her own at the age of 17 and was given permission to have her sister come live with her.

At this point in her life, Anne had graduated high school at the age of 16 and was in her freshman year of college. She had taken many extra classes and advanced classes at a local Valley high school. Anne also took the initiative to do online courses, morning and evening courses, and summer school each year. The safety of herself and her sister was the biggest motivator that Anne had to complete high school and continue her education. Another key motivator was that the foster care system has control over every aspect of her life besides school. Anne felt she had control over her future by being determined in school.

With almost no help from any case managers, Anne used everything she had learned to research the opportunities available to her as a foster youth. She researched college scholarships that catered to the needs of foster youth making effort to continue their education. Anne also supported herself by working any shifts that she could at the jobs that she had, even if it meant running herself dry to stay above water and pay her bills. She has relied on her work ethics, scholarships, and ETV voucher to support herself.

For a long time, Anne relied on public transportation for traveling purposes. At 18, she received her license and bought her first car. Anne had her fair share of problems with cars though; ranging from theft to mechanical issues. Both of which can be very expensive.

When Anne was 15, she was nominated to join a youth advisory board to speak out on issues; this is where she met her mentor. When Anne was in college, her mentor got Anne a job at AASK, an organization that focuses on mentoring foster youth, placement of foster youth, adoption services, counseling, training, and case management. This gives Anne the ability to give back to a community that she stems from and to use her personal experience in her work.

Only a few people really had a great influence on Anne. Her mentor influenced her by caring for her and supporting Anne through many different difficult times. Anneís sister was a very important person in her life and a huge motivator to get through school and be self-sufficient. Anne has also been with the same boyfriend since she was 15, and he has been a constant in her life who has given her strength. Her church family has also incredibly influenced her faith.

For foster youth in transition, Anne would like you to know that it is possible. You may not think that it is, but it is possible. You have to be willing to work hard at it. And, you have to be willing to fail, pick yourself up and keep working. A lot of people fail and just give up. They think why should I keep trying Iím never going to get it? But you just canít give up. Also, do not be afraid to negotiate. Call people, talk to them. Explain your situation and do not give up. They may not understand what you have been through, but they will understand that you need help.

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