Homeless at 13, she had no idea what her future would hold.
All Mary knew was people cared. Good samaritans would deliver care packages filled with food, hygiene items, and other necessities. Someday, she thought, she would be in a position to help others in similar situations.
Today, Mary is a 21-year-old entrepreneur. She recently obtained her Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), the first big step toward becoming a truck driver and eventually owning her own trucking business, a dream she’s had since she was 18. She also plans to pursue a real estate license, invest in properties, and start her own clothing line for plus-size activewear, all the while giving back to the community, particularly to youth in foster care.
“Whenever I was at my lowest and didn’t think I was going to make it out alive, Foster Success saved my life,” Mary said. “I want to give back to those who need help. I want my story to be inspirational to (other youth in foster care), that you can go through some of the lowest moments of your life and have a difficult upbringing, but you can change the outcome if that’s really what you want. I was 13 in a homeless shelter and people cared about me. I want to be that person who cares about them.”
She has a range of experience with our programs. She has been a member of the Indiana Youth Advisory Board, engaged with various workgroups, and participated in Opportunity Passport™, Online Financial Modules, and most recently Works Wonders®, which is what set her up for success, she said.
Just 51% of current or former foster youth report being employed at age 21, compared to 61% of their non-foster care peers. So with your support, we implemented the Works Wonders® program to ensure that our young people have a clear and supportive path to good and promising jobs.
“(Foster Success) helped me catch up on my car loan and my rent. They helped me with my student loan so I don’t have to worry about all that debt when I move. They helped me learn how to budget – I did the modules – and that’s helped me a lot,” Mary said.
She hit the road this summer, delivering for Western Express. She’s still got miles to go, but she’s got us – and you – in her wheelhouse.
“Everything is starting to fall into place,” she said.