Angelina Smith was five years old when she entered the foster care system. Like many other foster children, she was placed under the care of multiple foster parents. At the age of nine she was placed under the legal guardianship of a family friend.
Despite this stability, Smith lacked the care and guidance of a parent. By high school she had given up on her future, considering herself “one of the statistics from the foster care system.”
While the odds seemed to be stacked against her from a young age, Smith was able to rise above the situation and become a successful young woman with the help of different organizations.
When she aged out of the system she found a beacon of light in Covenant House, a non-profit charity that serves homeless youth. Through their program, First Place For Youth— which is geared specifically towards emancipated foster youth—she received job training and placement along with housing assistance.
Today Smith maintains two jobs and has graduated from the program. She hopes to become a social worker and ensure that children in the system “don’t fall through the cracks.”
Her story highlights the opportunities and support that need to be available within the foster care system. Namely, that education and transitional support are necessary to help this population become active members in society.
Smith is proud to stand as a symbol of hope for any foster child who thinks that the odds are against them. Watch her full video below.
Kaysie Ellingson and Suzette Brillantes were students of the Media For Social Change course offered at the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy.