Monday, January 13, 2014

Youth who "age out"

For over a decade now, CitySquare's Transition Resource Action Center (TRAC) has served and worked alongside thousands of young people who "age out" of the foster care system in a 19-county Child Protective Services region in northeast Texas.  TRAC's mission is to assist these special youth as they take the next necessary steps on the way to living as productive, confident adults.  This part of our work is very challenging because of what these young people have been through before we meet them.  National statistics inform us that many end up on the streets or in prison.  Hard, important, challenging work is accomplished by our TRAC team.

From time to time our program leaders receive personal feedback from the folks with whom they work.  Here's a report I received recently from a TRAC worker:

Subject: Smiles on a busy afternoon
I just got off the phone with Jimmy. 

Jimmy was a TRAC youth several years ago.  I met him a few times but know him mostly from reading the notes from Liz, his coach. 

Jimmy called to ask my permission to use TRAC in his autobiography, which he is currently writing.  I told him that he had the right to say whatever about us he wanted… and that I appreciated him asking. 

He shared that he wanted people to know how much we had helped him.  Jimmy said, “My parents were not able to help me… but TRAC taught me everything I needed to be ready.  I didn’t appreciate it at the time but I held on to what you guys told me for years to come.  TRAC is what got me through college.” 

I asked Jimmy how he was doing…he lives in Denton, was adopted as adult by a former foster family and is 14 hours away from a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and Government Affairs.  

Jimmy is a success thanks to YOU.  Though you probably don’t know him…and may not have worked with him…you help youth like him every day. 

Funny thing:  he often fell off the radar, didn’t return calls and seemed disinterested.  He was fickle when he was a TRAC youth and might have been one that we assume wasn’t benefitting from the help. 

He tells a different story. 

You all have success stories out there…they just don’t call in and tell us.  He was stunned that I remembered who he was…that I remembered who his coach was…many of our youth assume that we forget about them and move on. 

But they are out there…they are making it…and it is because of the work YOU do.  Thank you.  On behalf of Jimmy and youth just like him, thank you!  

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