How long were you in care?
Not long actually, about 6 months. I am not sure why they decided to have me move back in with family, it was definitely not the best option, however it was bitter sweet.
What obstacles were you able to overcome and how?
I lived with my alcoholic mother who didn't work. We often didn't have heat, hot water, clean bedding, healthy food, clothing that fit or a phone. There was a constant cloud of cigarette smoke and I suffered because of that. I put myself in situations and environments as a teen that I would otherwise had not if I had a home that I wanted to be in. I skipped school and I didn't try to my full potential and so I didn't graduate, but I always had drive, motivation and was a dreamer. I was lucky that even as a young teen, I knew I wanted a better life. I am healthy, strong, happy and successful now and am grateful everyday for everything I have.
What are some of your biggest accomplishments?
I consider myself a genuine, happy, trusting and caring person. I am able to stay optimistic and passionate about life and I believe that is a great accomplishment. I also own a small business, Resurface Skin Care Studio. I worked very hard to get where I am and I am very proud.
What kinds of people or programs might have made a positive influence on you when you were in care?
Not having guidance at a young age has a huge impact on your life. I would have been able to make healthier, more responsible decisions and set goals that would have set myself up for success if I had guidance. Foster children/teens seem to be looked at as lost causes. Social workers, teachers, guidance counselors and mental health counselors should be advocating for foster kids/teens. They need someone to show them a bit of normalcy. Take trips to colleges, concerts, theaters. These are experiences that can be life changing.
How do you think others can best help to contribute to current foster kids needs?
Listen, be patient, non judgmental and don't give up.
What would you say to kids currently in care about their futures?
Your future depends solely on your decisions. You may have to be your own advocate. You have the ability to make decisions that will set you up for success. You are worthy of good. You may feel alone, sad and angry at times and don't let anyone make you feel wrong for that. Feel your feelings, talk them out and know that you are not the only one feeling like this. You can have an amazing life. Be grateful for all the good you feel and remember that the bad is only temporary.
Are you currently giving back to the foster community? If so, in what ways? Would you be interested in working with us to benefit current kids in care?
I am always open to opportunities. I do offer discounted and complimentary skin care services to foster teens and people in recovery.