I entered the foster care system when I was twelve years old. I remained in care for five and a half years until I emancipated when I was eighteen years old. Throughout those five and a half years, I lived in twelve different homes. I was blessed with the opportunity to live with over sixty different people in these homes.
Though this may not appear as an obvious blessing and even though there was much adversity, as I struggled to cultivate genuine relationships and feel loved, God blessed me to come to a better understanding of people and purpose. As I met many different people, I came to understand healthy and unhealthy patterns in families. I also came to recognize the benefits as well as the faults within the foster care system.
By experiencing different values, structures, and patterns in different families that were sometimes successful and other times failing, I realized that family is the foundation which determines whether children are healthy and successful- and that includes children for generations, not just children within the family.
As my enthusiasm for family grew, I became passionate to have my own healthy, happy, and Jesus loving family; but before this, I hoped to become apart of the 3% of foster children that graduate with a Bachelor's degree or higher. I am currently in the process of getting my college degree, while running track at Hillsdale College. While getting my education, I have been blessed with many other opportunities to fulfill my other passions; some being, improving the foster care system and helping other families by sharing my experiences and story.
In the summer of 2016, I was honored to intern for an amazing and impactful nonprofit in Washington, DC, called the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. During this summer, I presented a policy to congressmen and women and White House policy staffers about how to reduce abuse and neglect in foster homes and eliminate stereotypes and negative labels among foster youth. The ultimate goal of this presentation was to reduce the saddening statistics foster youth face, while communicating the potential these youth have. This was the experience of a lifetime and I am so grateful that I am able to be a voice for those who are often silenced.
I am communicating many of the achievements "I have accomplished," but I want to emphasize that none of this would be possible without God's love and miracles in life. He perfectly placed many people (coaches, teachers, mentors, and ministers), my church (Family Christian Center), and many great organizations (like Children's Lantern), in my life to help me get to all of the awesome places I have been and where I am today. God has been my Father through it all and he has granted me these people as my family, which has been my foundation.
I am looking forward to helping other families create an unbreakable foundation to improve children's lives. I am excited to be a voice for the children who are overlooked. I am stoked to help youth find and fulfill their purpose with the gifts they have. And I am honored that God has allowed me to pave a way, form a foundation, and be a light to help helpless children do the same for future generations.