August 29, 2017 | Comments Off on High School Graduate a Therapeutic Foster Care Success
On Tuesday, June 13, Kyauna Allen did something she once thought impossible – she graduated from Mallard Creek High School.
“Six months ago, I did not envision myself receiving my diploma. I really thought my life was over – I’d given up on my dreams,” said Kyauna. But that was before she entered Alexander Youth Network’s Therapeutic Foster Care with Anita Foster. “When I met Kyauna, she had mental challenges and needed to build her self-confidence,” said Anita. “Plus she was pregnant and expecting in August. That was the main reason she had a negative view of her future.”
With guidance and encouragement from Anita, that dim view of the future was replaced with a brighter one. “Miss Anita motivated me to believe in myself, work hard in school and focus on the big picture,” said Kyauna. “When I’d get down, Anita and her daughter, Ave’, would pick me up and get me back on track. Ave’ helped me with my homework – she was my live-in tutor! They also made sure I had everything I needed for my senior project and graduation.”
One piece of her senior project on childhood obesity was a cookbook featuring healthy snacks. “I dedicated my cookbook to my baby boy – I’m naming him Gabrielle – and to my nephew. My favorite recipe is Apple Ladybug Trees made with apples, raisins, peanut butter and pretzels. Miss Anita set it up so I could test my recipes on our neighbors. She was always doing things like that to help me succeed,” said Kyauna.
Kyauna’s summer plans include getting a job and preparing for college. “I plan to go to CPCC and someday UNCC or UNCG. I want to be a mental health worker to begin with because I understand where people who need that kind of help are coming from. My long-term goal is to be a RN,” she said proudly.
“I’m not sure I could ever thank Anita enough for being such a kind-hearted role model and wanting what’s best for me.”
From Anita’s perspective, Kyauna has been a joy. “I’ve watched her evolve from being anxious, uncertain and hard on herself to a confident young lady whose spirit has been lifted and is willing to give herself a positive word,” said Anita. “It took some convincing, but I told her that we’re not going to tell ourselves what we can’t do. We made it a practice for her to say something nice about herself in the mirror each day and, slowly but surely, she began to be more positive.
“I’m so proud of how far Kyauna’s come. I’m especially pleased that, for the first time in the nine years I’ve been fostering, I had a child in my care that graduated on time.”
Anita encourages people to become Therapeutic Foster Care parents. “If not you, then who?” she asked. “We all have something to offer, something we can do to help a child. The way I see it, we need to have a sense of community, we should look to care for others. All it takes is an interest and the compassion to change a future, one kid at a time.”