I was born in Manila, Phillipines, and moved to Seattle when I was a baby. My mom died when I was 11 and there was no one left to take care of me so I entered the foster care system. I was in several foster homes, group homes, and even was homeless several times before I aged out of foster care when I was 18.
I used to be ashamed of being a foster kid and wouldn't want to tell anyone. But then I started attending things like the Independent Living Program camp at the YMCA and getting outside of the city and myself. I met other foster kids and realized they are normal like me!
I learned about the Y when I was 16 and living in a group home. At the time I didn't want to participate, but the group home made me. Before I joined the Y, I felt lost and lived day to day, never looking to the future.
I felt the Y wouldn't be able to help me and was just another program, but little did I know home much it would help! I've been working with the same case manager for three years and he has helped me so much! He taught me things that I didnt' have parents to teach me, like how to open a checking account and look for housing. What' I've gotten most out of the Y is help with housing and financial aid for school.
I got my GED in 2009 and am enrolling in classes today at Seattle Central Community College. My Y case manager helped me study for my reading and math tests, and always went to the school with me when I needed help signing up for or taking my tests. I never used to think about going to college or my future, but now I want to major in Psychology and help other people. Now I help my friends and other young adults with the things my Y case manager helped me with, like telling them about resources and helping them apply for financial aid. My long-term goal is to be a YMCA case manager!