Epworth recently received a phone call from a community member looking for help. The caller informed us that she just found out that a 19 year-old girl, and former foster child, Ally*, was homeless. As we learned more we found out that for weeks Ally, now 19 year old young woman, was living out of her car in a local parking lot. We invited Ally to come to Epworth and talk to our staff to see how we might help.
When Ally arrived at Epworth, she shared her story with us of how she was trying to make it on her own. After leaving high school and the foster care system she tried to pick up some part-time jobs to pay for an apartment. She tried to launch herself into adulthood but it just did not work. She had no family to turn to and none of her friends were in a position to help. She had nowhere to turn so she started living on the streets. Living on the streets made it nearly impossible to find a job, and she was stuck in a downward cycle.
After talking with her, Epworth invited her to be a part of the Epworth Independent Living Program. Within days of moving in to a fully furnished apartment on the Epworth campus, she was hired for a local part-time job. A short time later she developed a career plan. With no family or obligations to tie her down, she decided that she would like to become a long-distance truck driver. Epworth’s Independent Living staff started working with her to make this plan into a reality and we have started to help her apply to driving schools.
Ally is an impressive young lady. She is resilient and driven but she simply did not have the support system around her to be fully independent. Now with a safe place to stay, meaningful employment, a career plan, and caring adults who can help her navigate life, Ally has a fresh start and is on her way to being a successful independent young adult.
*name changed to protect identity