20 year old Sherrita has a bright future ahead of her. A decade ago, however, she was a frightened 5th grader in foster care. Sherrita was removed from her biological family at a young age. In county foster care she “felt like an outcast” and was disheartened by the favoritism her foster parents showed toward their biological kids.
When Sherrita turned ten, she found out from her county social worker that she was going to be moved yet again. “I was crying for days and weeks,” she recalls. “I was really scared.”
Sherrita’s fears were put to rest when she and her younger brother entered their final placement in a Seneca Center foster home where they finally felt protected and safe. After years of uncertainty, Sherrita learned that she could trust her foster mother and rely on her to provide constant understanding and encouragement.
Despite her struggles in school and difficulties with peers, her Seneca foster mother remained strongly supportive. “There were lots of times when she could have kicked me out, but she didn’t” says Sherrita. “She always told me that she wasn’t going to give up on me. She told me that I was going to make it, that I was going to graduate from high school and be successful.”
With help from Seneca Center’s staff and assurance from her foster mother, Sherrita began to flourish. She joined a leadership program at her high school and received two academic achievement awards for maintaining a high grade point average. In the 10th grade, she began working at JoAnn’s Fabrics where she developed confidence and was recognized for her excellent customer service.
When Sherrita graduated in 2008, she says that she “felt accomplished and really happy that I made it. I came a long, long way.” She credits her foster mother with a large part of her success. “If my foster mother wouldn’t have been there or given me the guidance I needed, I don’t know where I would be now.”
Sherrita’s foster mother has remained helpful and encouraging in the years since she emancipated from the system. Sherrita describes her as “my support system” and she still speaks with her on the phone almost every day while she attends Laney College and works toward a degree in business accounting.
When asked about the lasting impact her foster mother made, Sherrita says without hesitation, “She changed my life.”