Chris was helping her mother transition into an assisted living facility when she suddenly remembered the car.
She was told that her mother, Jean, would no longer have a need for it, and Chris was left wondering What should we do with it? Who should we give it to?
Then she had an idea.
As a former employee of the Safe Children Coalition, Chris instantly recalled the teens who were aging out of the foster care system and in desperate need of support as they made the transition into independent living.
“I had a behind-the-scenes look at the amount of need these kids had, and I knew this would be a real help,” Chris said.
She called Josh Burns, who is an Independent Living Specialist who works with transitional youth. When she asked if he knew of any young people who could benefit from having a car, one name came to mind: Chawnsae.
“He’s a great kid. Everyone says he is a pleasure, very helpful, a go-getter,” Josh said. “He is the kind of person who makes things happen on his own.”
Chawnsae has been in the foster care system for more than a decade. When he transitioned into independent living, Josh worked to help him get acclimated. He’s connected Chawnsae to
various resources to further his job prospects. And when he learned the young man enjoyed working with his hands, he encouraged him to explore welding. Together they mapped out a plan for him to enroll in a welding program.
“He told me that he’s loved welding since he was young,” Josh recalls. “Ever since he locked in on that goal, he’s been contacting different schools and securing his own apprenticeships.”
Initially, job prospects were few because a lack of transportation limited his options. But with Jean’s car, he is working a consistent construction job to support himself as he continues to enroll in school.
“He was already a very determined person, but I think the car really helps him understand the significance and responsibility of being an adult and I know it’s going to help him to thrive.”
With continued focus and hard work (and generosity from people like Chris and Jean), the sky really is the limit for Chawnsae … and several others just like him.