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Overcoming Adversity on the Path to Independence

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Today, we share the uplifting success story of a remarkable individual who, at the age of 18, achieved significant milestones on her path to independence in the face of much adversity. In November, she received a car from WAYS for Life after getting her driver's license, earning her GED, obtaining full time employment, saving a $1,000.00, and graduating from the WAYS for Life 30-week Lift Up Life Skills class.

Faced with the tragic loss of her parents at the age of 13, she entered foster care and experienced multiple residential placements, school changes, dropping out of high school, legal challenges, and the birth of her child at the age of 16 in 2021. Shortly before the birth of her child, she became a member of WAYS for Life and began utilizing all of its wraparound services including the GED FastTrack program, a mentor, legal advocacy, career counseling, a scholarship to vocational certification, housing assistance, and food services.

This member's transformative journey began with her commitment to self-improvement. Having successfully graduated from both the WAYS for Life Lift Up Life Skills program and the WAYS' GED FastTrack program, she earned her GED and secured a full-time position in a preschool—a testament to her determination and resilience. Undeterred, she continued her educational pursuits, earning a DCF Childcare Certificate through dedicated effort and commitment. Her full-time employment enabled her to secure her first apartment which she moved into when she turned 18 and aged out of foster care in the early part of 2023.

November marked a turning point as she passed all the DCF tests, officially becoming a certified childcare assistant. This certification increased her earning capacity. With unwavering ambition, her sights are set on higher education, aiming to enroll in college with aspirations of becoming a preschool teacher or a social worker. Her personal journey, shaped by experiences in foster care from the age of 13, fuels her desire to support other children navigating similar challenges.

Gratitude is extended to the State of Florida Keys to Independence program, which played a pivotal role in facilitating her journey towards independence. This program not only assisted her in obtaining her Driver's License but also provided the crucial first six months of car insurance, clearing the path for her newfound mobility. Getting her driver's license was the last milestone she needed to achieve in order to earn her car from the WAYS for Life Lift Up Life Skills program. This car now provides the means for her and her two-year-old child to get to and from their apartment to work at the preschool every day, saving lots of time, frustration, and thousands of dollars in Uber costs. It also gives her the ability to attend college classes at night.

Her story embodies the transformative impact of WAYS for Life's holistic support, breaking the cycle of poverty and generational foster care. A young mother at 18 with a two-year-old, her determination, coupled with WAYS' assistance, paved the way for a brighter future for herself and her child.

Her perseverance and hard work served as a powerful reminder that, with the right support and dedication, individuals can overcome adversity, achieve their goals, and create a positive ripple effect in their communities. As we celebrate these milestones, let us continue to champion the journey toward independence, one success story at a time.

And to our beloved member- We are so very proud of you, keep up the incredible work!


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