I want to tell you a story of two girls. This is a true story and these sisters grew up right here in Texas.
Once upon a time, the sisters had a mommy and a daddy and a safe place to live. Something went wrong– well, a lot of somethings went wrong. The girls’ father died and the girls’ mother could no longer afford the home they lived in. Their mother fell on hard times and turned to drugs. She was no longer safe so the girls were removed and placed in foster care.
Thankfully the sisters were able to be placed in the same foster home; however, each had a different response to being removed from their biological mother. It was especially difficult for the older sister and the court ordered that she receive intensive counseling. Nothing about foster care is easy but the younger sister seemed to tolerate it slightly better. After eleven months the court ruled that it was safe for both girls to return to their mother, and they did.
The older sister continued to struggle. She made friends with the wrong crowd and it wasn’t long until she became addicted to drugs. By her early 20’s she had an unplanned pregnancy and an extensive criminal record. The oldest sister struggled with her addiction throughout the pregnancy. Her baby was born full term and the child tested positive for methamphetamines. CPS stepped in and the baby was removed and placed in foster care. At the time of removal, the older sister reported that she didn’t know anyone safe enough to be approved as a caretaker for her child.
The younger sister grew up in the same environment. She faced the same struggles and outside influences. There was one big difference; she was a skilled athlete. So skilled that she received a college scholarship and was able to graduate with a 4-year degree. She went on to pursue her master’s and it wasn’t long until she was a successful professional in the career of her choice.
A recreational activity– that was the key factor. WAY Alliance is committed to helping youth find a purpose and passion in life. We want everyone to have a chance to reach their goals. We offer workshops and provide opportunities for youth to try new activities. We offer one-on-one mentoring so no one feels lost or without a support system. We can still change the way the story ends for so many youth with foster care experience. It’s not too late. Let’s break the cycle and give them a foundation for the future.
Will you join us?
This story comes to us from a contributor and consultant of WAY Alliance. The persons mentioned are real and the author wishes to remain anonymous.