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Isabelle shares her story from the perspective of a youth in our Foster Care Program, rising above the limits of her past.
Foster Care was a lot to adjust to, but people here believe in us when our parents didn’t. It’s like instead of having two parents, you have a whole support team.
Growing up, my parents were verbally and physically abusive. They didn’t value much, especially education. After years of my parents telling me I didn’t have to go to school, telling me that a degree is worthless, I still wanted to go to college, but I had missed so much school growing up, I didn’t know whether I could get in.
My caseworker at Sheltering Arms is my everything. If it wasn’t for the caseworkers, I wouldn’t have job experience. I wouldn’t be studying Criminology and Psychology at John Jay. I wouldn’t have any of the scholarships they helped me apply for. They helped me with SAT prep so that I got really high scores, which is one of the main reasons I got into John Jay College. College is different for a foster kid because we don’t have parents to be role models or the regular financial support to cover all the costs, but they helped me find a way.
I knew I was smart, but I had never applied myself before. Now, with my foster parent and people at Sheltering Arms telling me, ‘I know you can do better,’ I realized I know that I can, too. I am ready to prove to everybody that I can do it. Now I want more than a Bachelor’s. I want a Master’s and even a PhD. I’m determined to succeed.
There’s a stereotype that foster kids aren’t going to amount to much because so many of them don’t make it. That stereotype is keeping everybody down. My motto is that you can’t change the past, but you can put it behind you and change the future. I want more for myself and I won’t let anything change that.