Did you know that only 50% of foster youth finish high school and of that, only 3% graduate college nationwide (1). I am one of the few foster youth that overcame systemic and cultural barriers to graduate college. I’m proud to say, I successfully paved my way to a brighter future.
As I reflect on events that ultimately led me to my role as a University Recruiter, I am reminded of my family’s struggle when they arrived to the United States in the 1970s. Just as many immigrants experience today, the culture shock from being in a new country was overwhelming. Even though it can be an opportunity to change one’s life for the better, that was not the case for me. I experienced neglect and spent most of my childhood in foster homes without proper nurturing and care.
At the time, it seemed the cycle would be never ending. I truly believed there was no escape from the path laid before me. I lost my faith in the system. Later, the birth of my first child strengthened my desire to escape the negativity around me. I fought to find the light at the end of the tunnel. I knew that I had to accept who I was, without allowing my circumstances to define who I would become.
As I sought to build myself, I turned toward education. I eased myself back into school and completed my GED, followed by community college. Staying the course was not easy and I began to struggle with insecurities I had developed as an underprivileged minority. I started to feel like I wasn’t good enough as a person, a student, and most importantly, as a mother. I became overwhelmed with the responsibilities of being a single mother, studying through college, and working demanding jobs just to make ends meet. I felt it was me against the world. I was afraid that my child would end up with the same life I had endured.
Amid challenges, I persevered. I became a foster youth ambassador, to help guide the next generation in foster care. My failures honed my adaptability and flexibility. I share my story to encourage others, that with resilience and self-sacrifice, they can also accomplish their goals. Against all odds, I became a first-generation college graduate.
Along the way, I learned the importance of not giving up and developed a passion for helping others who need support. I am proud that my accomplishments have led me to be part of a Fortune 500 company, NortonLifeLock. I now work with others who also push through life’s challenges to support their families, while pursuing higher education.
I believe in empowering one another, embracing diversity, and welcoming individuality. Regardless of where we come from and the disadvantages we’ve faced, I believe small efforts can become life changing. I hope my story inspires others to be an ally, care, and support those who seek opportunities to grow. I’m proud to be a member of team NortonLifeLock and glad to work for a company that invests in me as a young professional.
If you are interested in knowing more about Foster Care:
(1) Source: https://nfyi.org/issues/education/
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