People Helping People: "Tomorrow Matters to me"

I am a 17-year-old youth who has been in foster care since birth. During my time in foster care, I have been in five different placements and had to change schools 10 different times. I am currently in my final placement and am honored to be a mentor for and Alumni of the Tomorrow Matters Mentoring Program established by the Foster Children's Foundation.

A little over two years ago, I was invited to participate in the Tomorrow Matters Mentoring Program to learn independent living skills preparing me to transition to adulthood. At the time, I did not realize it would change my life forever, but it has. This program provides caring volunteer mentors who teach independent living skills to youth ages 14 - 21 who have no family and face very uncertain futures. Today, I attribute much of my success to the knowledge and resources and caring individuals who make up the Foster Children's Foundation family.

Involvement in this program has taught me how to DREAM BIG, establish myself as a young professional and make what will be lifelong adult connections to put me on a path to success. In addition to life skills training received in the Tomorrow Matters program, youth gain an understanding of the importance of a good education, have access to academic support, and develop goals to help them reach their potential.

The Tomorrow Matters mentoring program offers the opportunity for youth who have graduated, to come back and mentor other less fortunate youth who need love, understanding and encouragement. Alumni who serve as mentors help strengthen the relationships in the program and are proof that one can succeed. These graduates realize their value to society as they see that they too can make a huge difference in the lives of others and how much giving back will change their lives.

In May of this year, I will be graduating from High School and am prepared to attend Gwinnett Technical College in the fall. I will be working this summer to enhance my hands on job skills. Being part of the Foster Children's Foundation has allowed me to grow tremendously, enhance my communication skills and develop many relationships with caring adults who are willing and eager to help me succeed. I have learned the importance of developing relationships and creating my own support system in addition to the one that I will have forever through the Foster Children's Foundation. I now have many people who I can reach out to for guidance who I know truly care. This is my famlly!

Though I am only one, there are many more who walk in my shoes and need your help.

It is my sincere hope that you will support the efforts of the Foster Children's Foundation so they can continue to serve thousands of local children in need.

To find out how you can help go to www.fosterchildrensfoundation.org or call 770-623-6135. Mail tax deductible contributions to P.O. Box 2469 Duluth, GA 30096

People Helping People is a weekly column written by the executive directors of nonprofit organizations in Gwinnett County. Need help or know someone that does? The Gwinnett Helpline directs callers to the appropriate nonprofit agency. Call 770-995-3339.