You probably remember the village of people who helped you transition from high school or college to life as an adult. And if you didn’t have a village, you recognize how much easier life would have been had you had one. It’s not easy, and we all need help navigating life. But sadly, many foster kids who reach 18 don’t have a support system to guide their transition.

Thank you for believing things should be different. 

“I was extremely fortunate when the Department of Social Services took me, my sister, and my two cousins away from my grandmother,” said Chris, a student in Thornwell’s Independent Living program.

“It was the start of my senior year of high school, and I was one month from my 18th birthday. If the police hadn’t come when they did, I would have been too old for care. And that would’ve changed my life completely.”

Because you so generously give, Chris has been given a new start. 

“My grandmother wasn’t a bad person. Yes, she did yell, insult, curse at me, and hit me and my 19-year-old sister, but she only did that when she got angry. I have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and I am on the autism spectrum, and my sister is mentally disabled, so we often made her angry. But she never took her anger out on my younger cousins. It wasn’t the abuse that caused DSS to take us. It was neglect–my grandmother just wasn’t able to take care of the four of us like she was supposed to.”

You can imagine the impact an established community and education can make in the life of a young man like Chris.

“A lot of people ask me why I didn’t sign myself out, why I stayed in care after I turned 18. It’s simple. Why would I leave? I found a support system that provided a place to stay, food, clothes, and so much more. And, most importantly, I received help with the one thing that I was worried about the most: paying for college.”

I found a support system that provided a place to stay, food, clothes, and so much more.

Education readiness tools, tutoring, budget training, and therapy are just a few of the incredible resources you provide to young people like Chris. 

Today, Chris is thriving as a college student who loves to read, play cards, and practice Tae Kwon Do. He’s studying journalism and wants to write for a living.

Thank you for caring enough to give him this opportunity! 

Chris shared, “Because of all of the people in my life, I have a future bright enough to ensure that the shadows of my past are just that–shadows, without enough weight and substance to stop me from achieving my dreams.”

Your loving heart has turned a broken story into one of redemption. Chris is using his testimony to do good and encourages all of us to do the same. 

“I’ve learned to look at things from another’s point of view, and I’ve realized that your past, while it doesn’t have to affect your future, does have an impact on how you act in the present. Seeing the kindness of strangers, as well as the cruelty, hatred, and violence that some people have to endure, has made me realize something very important. Humanity has infinite potential, in either direction. A torch can be used to guide us through the darkness and into the light, or it can be used to set the world on fire.”

 

You can give to help other kids like Chris today.

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