by former foster youth RG who heads to college, either virtually or in person, in the Fall.
On 2019 my life, as I knew it, was changed forever. My mother and I lived together in a motel. My father had not been in my life since I was in grade school. On that particular day when I told my mother I was gay, she told me to get out and not come back.
Just like that.
I felt numb and as the realization I was now homeless hit me, I felt scared. I walked one and a half hours to my school because I had nowhere else to go. Shortly after I decided to walk to a pizzeria and call the child welfare hotline where I had been known previously. I was picked up by a caseworker and taken to the office until a temporary placement could be found for me.
After a few weeks, I was moved to what I hoped would be my last foster home. It was at that moment I realized that I must take control of my own life if I wanted to succeed. I enrolled in high school where I graduated class of 2020. I was able to access available resources from my school, child welfare and CASA for Children, which included counseling, tutoring and guidance.
I hadn’t fully realized the extent of my resourcefulness until this time and my determination to succeed.
During the years living with my mother my grades suffered, mostly because of the negative environment at home. I had little motivation to do well in school and, in fact, the exact opposite. My mother didn’t want me to attend school for her own personal reasons and, actually, refused to enroll me at one point. Once under the supervision of child welfare, I was able to enroll in my current high school where my grades dramatically improved. For two of the last three semesters I was on the honor roll with all As and Bs.
As I reflect on my earlier years and the day my life changed, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I learned I will not let the past define me; I learned I can count on myself; I learned I am resourceful; and I learned I can accomplish most anything I set my mind to if I want it badly enough. These are the attributes I will bring to college and, subsequently, to my chosen profession of social work. I look forward to using my college training to give back to those in the community who need help.
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Children’s mission to speak on behalf of abused and neglected children is central to fulfilling society’s most fundamental obligation to protect a child’s right to be safe, treated with respect and to help them reach their fullest potential. For more information about CASA, visit AtlanticCapeCASA.org.