When we talk about the work of First Place, it’s often in terms of helping foster youth beat the odds or triumph over the statistics. For Franklin, it’s a phrase that holds double meaning.

After struggling in previous semesters, Franklin earned a B in his statistics class this summer! The class was the final hurdle standing between him and completing his associate’s degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Now, with that degree in hand, Franklin has enrolled at Cal State Northridge to pursue his bachelor’s, the next step toward achieving his goal of a career in educational counseling.

It’s been a long journey from the upheaval of his adolescence to today.

Franklin had entered foster care at age 14 and spent the next four years separated from his twin brother and moving frequently between foster families and group homes. As his 18th birthday loomed and Franklin faced the prospect of adulthood without the support of a family or even a stable place to live, his social worker helped him apply to First Place.

The security of having somewhere to call home allowed Franklin to focus his attention on planning for the long term, rather than worrying about where he would sleep each night. His Youth Advocate and Education and Employment Specialist worked closely with him, helping him think about his vision for his future and understanding what it would take to put his goals within reach. Franklin enrolled in Los Angeles City College and began a part-time food service job to begin building his work history. He also joined California Youth Connection at his Youth Advocate’s urging, where he completed leadership training and became an advocate for other foster youth in meetings with local and state policy makers. After two years in his restaurant job, Franklin moved into a program assistant position in LACC’s Trio Student Support Services office, allowing him to advance his professional skills.

Reflecting on how far he has come in the last few years, Franklin credits his First Place team’s belief in him for helping him stay motivated.

“First Place helped me find myself,” Franklin says. “Now I can’t stop thinking about what I want to do next.”

We are so proud of Franklin for all he has accomplished so far and the perseverance he has shown in the face of challenges. We know that his enthusiasm, confidence, and determination will carry him far!