Caitlin Rose is a Foster Youth, and a member of Tabor Children’s Services Youth Advisory Board, where she is a representative of youth, adolescents, and children of Bucks County. She willingly entered the system at age 16 hoping that Tabor would provide stability and a future for her, and it has! She is graduating from Neshaminy High School in Langhorne, takes Honors and AP classes, and will be attending Arcadia University in the fall of this year where she will be majoring in English with a focus on Creative Writing and minoring in Education. Her goal is to one day become an English teacher and publish her own written works. She also recently entered Tabor’s Mentoring Program and is awaiting a mentor match.
Cailtin is a remarkable young woman who has overcome many challenges and possesses a desire to tell her story and advocate for other youth who are in the process of overcoming their own personal challenges as they enter or “age out” of the child welfare system.
Caitlin told her remarkable story at our inaugural event “Taste of TABOR” chef showcase and fundraising event. This event successfully matched 15 youth with mentor chefs and raised funds for youth who come from a background of abuse or neglect and those who are preparing to “age out” of the child welfare system.
Caitlin’s Story & Appeal: Adopt, Foster, Mentor, Donate or Volunteer
I would like to start this speech by thanking all of you for coming out to the first annual Taste of Tabor event, which will certainly be the overture of many more to come in the future. I pray this all starts conversations about the wonderful services provided by the workers at Tabor Children Services, and give a new connotation to the term “Foster Care System”.
While I myself am not a typical foster youth, my past is not dissimilar from my peers within the system. My parents divorced when I was 8 years old. My mother and I moved in with her mother, my Grandma, who even in her old age took us both in when we needed it the most. At 9, my Grandmother obtained full custody of me after my mother spiraled into alcohol addiction, going in and out of rehabilitation. This cycle continued for the next 7 years, although as much as my Grandmother tried, her dementia eventually made her unable to properly take care of me. At the age of 16, I willingly put myself in the Foster Care System to better her life and mine. Because of this, my view of the system and the people within it are is a study in contrast of those around me.
After being placed in the care of a foster family, I can say with full confidence that I have found a family there, and the love I feel in their home is unmatched by any that I have felt for a very long time.
Throughout the darkest days of these last two years, I have had the kind workers at Tabor Children’s Services by my side. I would confide in workers about my troubles, and be reassured when I was losing hope. Along with this emotional support, I have also had the opportunity to receive financial support in purchasing my class ring, prom ticket, and senior pictures. Without Tabor Children’s Services, I would never have been able to afford any of these things. In addition, through the Life Skills Class I attended in the winter and spring of 2015, I gained the knowledge and skills I’ll need for when I live out on my own, including information about budgeting and how to obtain a job.
Simply, these kinds of things are what “normal” teenagers take for granted. Their parents buy them their senior pictures and their class rings; their parents are their emotional support and their role models. For me, Tabor Children Services has given me this sense of “normalcy”, and I have not taken any of it for granted.
Out of all these services that have helped me life a life, the one I haven’t obtained yet is perhaps the one that I’ve needed the most: Tabor Children Service’s Mentoring Program. Through this service, I and other foster youth over the age of 14 are voluntarily matched with an adult of the same gender from the community to bond and connect with. Foster Youth often feel surrounded by a bunch of figures that only lend an ear because that’s their job; what separates the Mentors from the Social Workers is the simple fact that the Mentors care for purely intrinsic reasons. Mentors will stay in the youth’s life, becoming a constant and role model for those who need that guidance the most.
While I’m not an exemplary sample of youth that can be mentored, I firmly believe that if any youth is given a chance to be guided and given love, that all my peers in the system with me can achieve great heights and fulfill all their goals and aspirations. This belief should not be held by just me, but by anyone who is willing to devote their time, love, and understanding to a foster youth.
With all of this in mind, there is certainly something that all of you here today can do to help Tabor Children’s Services in this vision of helping foster youth. Tonight, I ask you to make a personal pledge to adopt, foster, mentor, donate, or volunteer to support Tabor Children’s Services’ mission and positively impact the lives of children and youth alike.
For more success stories, click here.