Adulting With A Safety Net
Robert* was our first ACH graduate to move into the Aftercare house. He is able to walk forward in confidence and peace of mind because he trusts that behind his efforts he has a dedicated force of folks who are rooting for him, praying for him and working towards his success.
After I graduated, I didn’t know what was going to happen. I knew I was going to go to Amarillo College and I could stay at the TLC (Transitional Living Concepts) home, but that was kind of like staying a kid. I was ready for more responsibility and more freedom – I was ready to decide for myself when to go to bed and when to get up; ready to be more self-reliant – to make sure I go to class, do my homework, go to work, manage my time, budget my money and have mature responses to those around me – ready to make the change of mentality to one of an adult. But I knew I wasn’t ready to be completely on my own, and those seemed to be my only two choices.
When I found out about the House, I was so relieved – it was the solution I was looking for. When I moved in, I hadn’t been in a house all by myself in six years – just being alone. The first night, I set up my tv, cooked myself dinner and sat down and watched tv. It was amazing.
It can be weird being by myself – I’m very social – but I have friends over, and I can walk to the TLC home or the office or the playground anytime I want to talk or hang out. Support is a short walk away if and when I need it.
Janet (Laughter) helped me get situated, of course – she’s my surrogate mom. She made sure I had food and dish cloths and laundry detergent. She’s still a huge part of my life – she checks in with me every day. She’s always there for me, regardless of what I need. And people from the office… Barbara checks in a lot. She came over and made cookies with me the first week. John brought homemade salsa.
I’m happy I was chosen to do this. I feel honored that ACH put me in the House. I went from a year ago not thinking I’d graduate high school to going to college, paying rent and utilities and living on my own, but with people around to help me if I need them.
I’m really taking pride in my home – MY home! I cleaned MY house, I mowed MY lawn. I appreciate this home and I’m glad I get to be a role model to the other kids. I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity I’ve been given and have a positive effect on the younger kids.
I am the happiest I have ever been. I’ve learned a lot about myself in one month. I’ve realized I’m really going to be able to grow into who I am because of this opportunity.
This is a big step into adulthood. It’s getting to grow into adulthood rather than being shoved into it. Most foster kids don’t know what to do after graduating from high school – they’re just thrust into full-on adulthood, but Amarillo Children’s Home is allowing me to grow up at a more normal rate. It’s adulting with a safety net. They’re saying, “We care about you, and we’re not going to let you fall on your face… and if you do, we’re going to pick you up and help you figure out what you need to do and what we need to do to help you succeed.”
*name has been changed