I entered foster care when I was seven. Coming to America from the Philippines, my dad was abusive, and my mom wasn’t able to care for us.
I have four sisters and three brothers. When we first entered foster care, we were scattered to different foster homes.
I remember moving around a lot—switched schools every two years. I had a hard time talking to people, especially teachers. They wanted to know what was going on with me, but I didn’t want to tell them, so I just kept everything to myself.
When I emancipated at 18, I wasn’t ready to be on my own. I wanted to be part of First Place to learn to how to be independent, manage my money, to be self-sufficient. That’s still in the process of where I’m at now.
I’d say I was struggling in school at first, and work, because I didn’t know what I wanted until I came here. They helped me gather my goals together into one place—basically supported me through everything with work and school.
Hopefully I get into UC Berkeley or SF State and continue my education in child development.
I just want to say for former foster youth and foster youth out there, you should never give up. Even though you may have had a hard life or struggled, you’ll always have a better life in the future.
I’d like to thank everyone at First Place for Youth for getting me into the program. First Place helped me make myself better for the future.