United Friends of the Children is dedicated to the premise that foster youth deserve a successful adulthood.
Through our Housing and Education Programs, foster youth are provided with the opportunity to graduate from high school, attend and graduate from college, get a job, find housing and have a support system that moves them gradually towards independence.
Our goal is that the youth in our programs not only survive, but that they thrive.
A family is supposed to provide shelter, a safe environment, nurture and teach their offspring...
Unfortunately, that was not the case for me. I entered foster care at the age of eight and I survived more than ten years of living with many relatives in foster care. Still, shortly after emancipation I was once again calling the streets my home. I had no family in sight when I came to United Friends of the Children’s housing program.
When I entered UFC's Pathways Program, I just wanted help with stable housing and a soft place to rest my head. Initially, I paid my rent but didn’t think I needed the rest of what the program offered. No matter how resistant I was about getting to know my community or attending weekly appointments or life skills meetings, no one at United Friends ever gave up on me. I was expecting to be kicked out or given up on just like my family did because I had a bad attitude and I didn't want to be told what to do. I was mad at the world because my parents didn't raise me but my Advocacy Counselor was always there, even when I thought I didn't need him! After a while, I gave in and began to trust again. I was not only able to trust, but I began to bond with everyone I was surrounded by. I finally acquired the family that had been absent to me since I was eight years old and for this I will always be thankful that United Friends was a part of my life.
I owe much gratitude to the many individuals that have impacted my life as staff, donors, or even volunteers of United Friends. Because United Friends invested in me, I was able to obtain my Associate’s degree. I went on to complete my undergraduate degree and would not have the opportunity to be pursuing my Master’s degree if it weren’t for UFC taking that initial risk on me.
Today, I can say that I am proud to be a former foster youth and my sense of pride has made me realize that I deserve dignity, respect, love, and happiness. I am just as worthy as anyone else in this world to have these things. I am entitled to my goals, can continue creating my family and will not stop turning my tragedies into triumphs.
Again, thank you United Friends and all its supporters for forever changing my life!