There are so many moments I sit back and think, “How lucky am I to get to witness this?” I had one of these moments yesterday when I stood by, proudly watching these young men and women who have experienced foster care, that have been in our housing program, use their voice to advocate for the ones coming after them. They spoke from a place of hope, of strength, and of trust; believing that the community will continue to rise up to better help those transitioning out of foster care overcome obstacles and grab hold of a brighter future.
I stood there thinking of each of them; where they started, what they have learned, how far they have come, and the dreams of where they are headed. I thought of the people that made it possible for them to have a safe place to call home inside the walls of our program. And I listened; as one of our first participants spoke of the challenges they experienced a nd how, without our program, those challenges would have led to him couch surfing his way through. Instead, he is in school, employed, and dreaming bigger than ever.
The truth is, youth coming out of foster care have so much to offer our community. They are stronger than they get credit for. They are more resilient and resourceful than many adults. Can you imagine all the possibilities that they bring to the table? Chris Patterson, US HUD Regional Administrator, in announcing HUD’s initiative to do more said it this way, “Housing is key. We do not want them on the streets. We do not want them in the jails. We do not want them in the hospitals. We want them some place where they are being productive so they can actually become us, become you, so they are productive people in our society.”
There is a lot of work still to be done and lots of young adults that need connections, guidance, and someone to remind them of how amazing they are. We are excited for what the future holds and for the opportunity to join Sheriff Penzone in the conversation of how we can link arms to do more together.
Founder/CEO of Foster Arizona and Foster Arizona Housing Project
Check out the full press release below