Hailey has been in our LifeStrengths program, working with her coach to develop the skills she needs to transition into adulthood. She is an amazing young woman who already has a tremendous life story.
As a young teenager, school was the only place Hailey could escape from her father and find peace from the difficulties at home. This is also a common story for many children who are currently in foster care, seeking safe places in which they may find refuge. Hailey’s love for school allowed her to graduate early from high school in 2019 at the age of sixteen. By this time, Hailey was in foster care after her home situation became unsafe.
Hailey went right to work after graduation, landing a position at JCPenney. She earned a position as a manager at the Springfield location and frequently found herself visiting the store on days off just to be around people and feel like she was part of a community.
After moving back to Dell Run in January 2020 to be near family, Hailey became a volunteer firefighter in her free time. Being on the frontlines as a firefighter has been scary during COVID-19 as some of the most frequent calls her station gets are about mental health versus actual fires.
The COVID-19 Impact
Experiencing the impact of the pandemic, Hailey lost her job. Although the government stimulus check helped, it wasn’t enough to cover her bills. Food stamps and unemployment checks have also helped, but these are not a long-term solution. Hailey works with her LifeStrengths coach consistently on developing other life skills she can use to thrive in any situation.
Older foster youth age out of the foster care system at different ages. Hailey turned eighteen in July 2020 and had to face being fully on her own for the first time in the middle of a pandemic.
COVID-19 challenges extend far beyond employment and social distancing. Milestones such as acquiring a driver’s license for the first time are incredibly difficult, yet of the utmost importance for foster youth transitioning into adulthood. We are excited that Hailey was able to get her driver’s license before she aged out of foster care in July.
LifeStrengths coaches are crucial to the development of a variety of soft skills for at-risk youth. Many don’t have consistent adult role models in their lives to support them through the tasks that can be taken for granted in traditional family structures. Without the opportunity for free coaching, foster youth are often left to fend for themselves.
Becoming a Hero
Recently Hailey had an urge to visit a friend’s mom who she hadn’t seen in a while. She went to the mom’s house where just the two of them were catching up on life. In the middle of their conversation, the mom began having a heart attack! Hailey’s training as a volunteer firefighter kicked in and she jumped into action, performing CPR, and saving the woman’s life.
We are proud of Hailey for listening to her heart which led her to be in the right place at the right time and all the life choices she has made that gave her the right training to save a life.
She has worked hard in the LifeStrengths coaching program that donors like you make possible for free to the most marginalized population in America. We are grateful to contribute sustainable development to create stronger communities.