Aging Out Of Foster Care
What happens next?
What happens next?
Anthony, a young man living in NSO’s Carolyn Williams Center (CWC), is a great example of clients who benefit from your support. Today, Anthony is polite, friendly and incredibly thankful for everything he has. But growing up, he didn’t have much to be thankful for.
By the time Anthony was six years old, he found himself responsible for raising himself and his two younger brothers.
Their absent parents — their mother, a drug addict, and their father, a meth cook would abandon Anthony and his brothers for days at a time. By the time he was 10, Anthony was a ward of the state of Texas.
“We stayed with relatives sometimes and in foster homes sometimes,” Anthony said. “I mostly slept on couches and sometimes in abandoned trailers and cars.”
In short, Anthony never had a stable home that could provide comfort and love. When Anthony turned 18, he faced the reality that he wouldn’t even have the support of the foster care system any longer.
“One day I walked 15 miles to the social services offices to beg them to let me stay in the foster care system,” he said. “But they said since I was 18, I was an adult and they couldn’t help me anymore.”
With no support and few options, Anthony bought a one-way ticket to Oklahoma City, where he learned about the CWC.
It was just what he needed. The CWC is designed for young men ages 18-23, who have aged out of foster care and now find themselves homeless and not equipped to care for themselves.
“At the Carolyn Williams Center, I had a real bed to sleep in and I knew no one would make me leave soon,” Anthony explained. “The staff told me I needed to finish school or get a job and that they would help me.”
“At the Carolyn Williams Center, I had a real bed to sleep in and I knew no one would make me leave soon. The staff told me I needed to finish school or get a job and that they would help me.”
In addition to a safe, clean home for up to 24 months, the CWC facilitates life skills classes, helps young men set goals and gain the skills and resources they need to be independent.
Now Anthony plans to attend Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City next fall. He works full time at Walmart, overnight restocking the shelves. NSO staff encourage him to save money and teach him basic budgeting skills.
“I almost have enough money to buy a car,” he announced. “I’m really happy about that.”
For Anthony, buying a car means he’ll never need to walk 15 miles again to seek help. For NSO, that car is a metaphor for all the hard work Anthony has done to become independent.
Because of your support, Anthony found his first stable, loving home at NSO; he gained skills and resources he needed to become a responsible man and most important, he learned that he mattered.