Our first Dare to Dream mentee we met at the age of 20. He had been in the foster care system since he was in elementary school and was soon to age out of care at age 21.
In 2018, we awkwardly asked him if we could meet him for pizza downtown regularly to hear how things were going. As he approached the cliff of aging out, these pizza meetups took on a new urgency. They soon became about housing and advocacy appointments. Like so many kids before him, he became homeless immediately upon aging out of the foster care system.
Aging out of foster care without a healthy support system or transitional housing set-up had created a predictable crisis.
LOVING him the way we would our own kin transformed this relationship from "client" to someone we had the honor of mentoring through this tough season. We had the privilege of walking beside him as he navigated the terrain between an isolated childhood in care and independence in a community.
This year, we have achieved what we set out to do. He has finally been approved for the disability he should have been awarded long ago when he was still in foster care. Through much advocacy, he has secured a place in his community to live. He has a group of dedicated folks who aren't paid to show up. We have increased his natural supports 10 fold.
The Dare to Dream Program has given us a framework to rally support around him and safely see this through as people that love him.
One part cheerleader, one part advocate, one part friend, ALL IN.
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