May is National Foster Care Month – a time to advocate for foster children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. Foster children experience suffering that no person should ever have to endure, especially a child by those who they trusted.
Meet Susie, a Promises2Kids Guardian Scholar who knows the challenges of foster care all too well. As the youngest of six, she witnessed her mother struggle with drugs and alcohol her entire life. For years, Susie supported her mother hoping that she would turn her life around. “I prayed and cried for our family to come back together, for my mother to come back to me. Instead, there were countless nights of crying in a home with no electricity, hot water, heat or food because we couldn’t pay our bills. There were birthdays and holidays I spent alone in the dark, with nobody to wipe my tears and tell me that I would get through this and be okay. I questioned why my mother chose the streets over her family and why she didn’t fight to stick by my side how I stood by hers”, said Susie.
At 16, Susie entered foster care. She lied to every adult in her life. She bounced around from house to house and attended over 10 different schools. She had to make adult choices, rather than enjoying her childhood and she struggled to make meaningful connections with people.
Through Promises2Kids Guardian Scholars program, Susie receives financial help, has a mentor who positively impacts her life and works as a peer mentor for current foster youth.
Susie’s mentor steers her in the right direction during important life decisions and shows her unconditional love and support. “Michele has taught me that even though I had no control of how my cards were dealt growing up, I now have control of how my cards are reshuffled in my deck for a better outcome”, said Susie.
Susie is one of the first in her family to graduate high school and the first to attend college. She is studying at SDSU and is well on her way to reaching her dream of working with indigenous at risk youth in a career with The Bureau of Indian Affairs.
This September, Promises2Kids will host its Dream On Concert Gala, presented by Kevin and Raegan Prior. This signature event will be held at the Foxhill Estate home of Papa Doug Manchester. Nearly 500 philanthropists, community and business leaders dedicated to making a difference in the lives of foster children will gather to enjoy an elegant dinner prepared by Jeffrey Strauss – Executive Chef and Owner of Pamplemousse Grille, followed by a private concert. Manchester, a longtime supporter of Promises2Kids, has championed foster youth since the very beginning. He and his team at Manchester Financial Group have helped change the lives of San Diego foster youth for the better.
Funds raised from the Dream On Concert Gala benefit foster youth like Susie. For tickets and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.Promises2Kids.org.