Foster youth shares experience maturing-out of system
SAN ANTONIO- November may be Adoption Awareness Month, but many Texas children mature-out of their foster families without ever finding a home.
“It was hard because other people were graduating and they all had family there and everything,” said Oscar Paz, reflecting on his high school graduation two years ago.
Now that it’s in the past he can see it as an experience that made him stronger. “I just mustered on through it,” he said smiling.
As a foster youth, Oscar gets free tuition to colleges in Texas. “But I wasn’t doing so well,” he said.
Having to support yourself, buy textbooks, find a place to live is not often easy, even for children who have the support of parents.
“I had no where else to go, and my case worker said there’s this place called Boysville.”
Boysville a campus out in Bexar County, became his home, it even has a white picket fence.
He now lives here with housemates, who divide chores, and even have curfews like they would if they lived with a family.
“They showed me the way to excel and step-up the ladder,” Oscar said.
That’s because Boysville isn’t just a place to live, the staff listened when Oscar said he took care of his special needs brother growing-up, and wanted to be a nurse.
It’s a goal he’s now close to accomplishing, graduating recently as a certified nursing assistant, and he said this time, his graduation ceremony was exactly how he’d imagined it.
“When I graduated I had a lot of support,” he said. “There was a lot of staff there.”
And he has this advice for foster children watching who are in his shoes.
“Not to give up because there’s always hope,” he said. “And there’s someone always there to help you.”
Boysville has 17 other young adults, like Oscar, they’re helping.
And they’ve helped more than 80 since 2013.
(Original news story aired on 11-16-17)