This is the conclusion of Calvin Temple’s story (read Part 1 of the story HERE.)
When I was in sixth grade, I was placed into foster care for the third time. This is when I knew I was going to be a foster kid for the rest of my life.
I struggled to fit in; life is different when you live in a group home. Coyote Hill opened its doors to me and I was provided a safe and secure place to just be a child. High school arrived and my friends were all looking at colleges and making plans for the future, but I had a hurdle to overcome. Coyote Hill nor my Home Parents had the money to put me through college. That is when I made one of the best decisions of my life. I spoke with the Missouri National Guard Recruiters, and in 2003 I enlisted in the National Guard.
Your past does not dictate your future. You can be a victim and let your past control you or you can face the challenges of your past head on and work harder to succeed. For me, the National Guard meant opportunity. I was given a way to go to college and a career to pursue. My journey had purpose again. I enrolled in college and started working on my degree. It would have been easy for me to give up and accept the cards I was dealt. Why try, when the one person in the world that was supposed to love me unconditionally had given up on me time after time? I didn’t want to end up like that, so I chose to attack my opportunity with a fierce desire to succeed. As a member of the National Guard I’m allowed to serve my community. I serve with soldiers who voluntarily give their time and effort to ensure our communities are safe. This brings a great feeling of pride and purpose to my life.
Words of Encouragement for Foster Kids
Young adults coming out of the foster care system are faced with unique challenges. Like me, you may wonder what the future holds after foster care. There may not be a college fund or the promise of a career when you transition out of the system. I want to encourage you to start planning for the future today. Evaluate potential opportunities and find the best fit.
I want to encourage these young adults. You are not defined by where you come from. You have the responsibility to decide if you are going to be a victim of your circumstances and give up on yourself, or press on and make positive changes happen in your life.
When you transition out of the system, it is important to surround yourself with successful people who can provide guidance and support when needed. Nothing is going to happen for you if you quit on yourself. For me, the National Guard provided that support and guidance. I have earned the opportunity to go to college and am just two classes away from a bachelor’s degree. I have a meaningful career that I am passionate about, and I have found a family in the National Guard that I can look to for support when needed. My journey has been challenging at times, but I didn’t let my past define who I would be.