“Because of my foster mom, no, my mom, I’m doing great things. I’m going to do great things. I’m in college, I have a job,” he said in a recent interview.
Zaire’s accomplishments are remarkable for any 19-year-old, but even more so for someone who grew up in foster care.
Such challenges derail many other kids’ his age, including many of his peers.
Now, he’s working to encourage others and let them know there is, in fact, hope.
He credits his success, in part, to the dedication of a loving foster mom and the team of Fostering Hope volunteers who supported their foster family along the way. They provided him with stability, enrichment and connections that helped him recognize his potential and begin to think big.
His story illuminates what Fostering Hope suspected when we launched as a pilot program 12 years ago with the notion that extended family – and the love and support that come with it – could help repair the wounds of trauma, abuse and neglect.
It’s estimated that a third of chronically homeless adults and half of the prison population have roots in foster care.
Zaire has held a steady job – 3 years and counting – at Faricy Boys. When he earned a full-ride scholarship to UCCS, he discovered his love of video games could become a viable career path. He’s learning practical skills like driving and budgeting, and he’s even tutoring young people.
He inspires other youth in the system to make the best out of the opportunities that come their way.