Such important questions – ones that are relevant to over 1,270 youth in South Carolina alone.
Serena* is one of those 1,270 youth impacted by foster care in our state. She has been through a lot of traumatic events in her life, but now, she is an honor roll student and thriving in every area of her life. Serena is sweet, polite, and helpful. She has hopes of being a nurse practitioner. Her mentor Dawn describes her in this way, “She has a wonderfully kind way with everyone she meets.”
At one time in her life, she found herself living in a residential group home. She dropped out of school and had a hard time imagining a future of hope. She was an awesome young person in need of some extra support.
Serena now receives support through Fostering Great Ideas’ Aspire, Sib-Link, and Life Support programs. Aspire strengthens her academic growth and achievement of now being an honor roll student. Sib-Link allows her to maintain connections with her siblings, who are scattered geographically. Life Support has given her a mentor, Dawn, who has been by her side through it all.
In addition to these Great Ideas, last year, Serena moved into a foster home with two loving parents who encourage her along the way. They affirm her abilities and interests and give her hope that she really can achieve her goals. Serena feels like she can finally be herself.
It is hard to tell. A loving foster home, a dependable mentor, regular tutoring, and sustained sibling connections all play a role. Each of these elements provides Serena with support for her to flourish. Serena and other youth experiencing foster care have a lot to offer. They all deserve positive relationships with people who will champion them along the way. They all deserve a chance to hope and dream and find their true selves.
*All names have been changed to protect privacy. The stories are real.
Source: Foster Care Dashboard (https://reports.dss.sc.gov/ReportServer/Pages/ReportViewer.aspx?/Foster+Care)
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