FOX News 5 Atlanta - Foundation Seeks To Help Foster Kids PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 25 May 2011 09:58

Foundation Seeks to Help Foster Kids: MyFoxATLANTA.com

 

By TACOMA PERRY/myfoxatlanta

ATLANTA - When Georgia Tech grad Sam Bracken was kicked out of his abusive home as a child, all he had was his orange duffel bag.

Now a successful executive, Bracken works to make sure all children in foster care and those outside the system have a plan for the future.

It's a problem most people don't even know exists -- teens who are served by the foster care system but because they grow older with out being adopted, they age out. One organization seeks to expose the problem and present solutions.

Sabastian Mensah, 18, sings about being around the world in 80 days. In the foster care system since a small child, he's says it's been hard always being on the move.

"Especially when I adjust to a new place and start making new friends and then I have to change and have to start all over again and have to build up new relationships," said Sebastian Mensah.

But at age 17 and a half, Mensah faced what's called aging-out. It's when a child in the foster care system turns 18 and transitions to independent living. The problem is most have very few options next.

"The number of kids overall in foster care, that number has declined in the last decade, that's the good news. The bad news is the number of kids aging out of the system with not one single, safe, caring adult in their lives has skyrocketed by 48 percent in the last decade," said Echo Garrett of the Orange Duffel Bag Foundation.

The Orange Duffel Bag Foundation, an organization that exists to help teens with their life plans, says 86 percent of kids age-out without a high school diploma or GED.

"It's not a lot of people giving that support to other youth because it's a lot of them that as soon as they're 18, they are homeless and they are living on the streets. It's unfortunate that has to happen to them," said Garrett

"Imagine if your 18-year old was suddenly just out, just out, had no one to ask questions. These young people need guidance. They need love," said Garrett.

Mensah is the exception. Now a high school graduate with a 3.7 grade point average, he aspires to be a family doctor. A goal that he says will have him singing a new song.

"I don't know what it is, it keeps on coming. I guess it's my strong motivation to succeed and make sure I'm successful in life," said Mensah.

The Orange Duffel Bag Foundation is dedicated to providing life skills education and support to youth living in foster care and aging out. To help their cause, you can text the word "orange" to the number 85944 to make a $10 donation.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 10:05
 

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