By Courtney

I was asked to write an article for the “Stories that Inspire” section of this website. Wow. I never thought I would have made it to a point where I could inspire and be in a position where I could share my story. I have no way of telling how you wandered to this site and then this article, but I hope you find the support you’re looking for, as well as the words you need to hear to carry on.

Please respect that I am sharing my story with the whole world, in the hopes of changing a life, and some content might lead to discomfort.

I want you to imagine a scraggly haired blonde girl running around in a dirt field, shoeless. In the desert of Arizona, I was raised by addicts. My mother was in and out of rehabs, then would go on months of binging on any drug she could get her hands on. My father was in a white supremacist gang, and a convicted felon. Although they tried their hands at odd jobs and day labor, we ended up homeless and in shelters. I remember going to food banks, my little legs tired of standing and dreading having to a carry a heavy bag of food home after the line ended.

My school became concerned that I had not attended school and when I did, I was tired and unable to pay attention. My baby brother, who is currently my best friend, had been left to my care and I was unable to go to school. This is when two CPS women showed up at my trailer door while I was watching my brother one weekday morning. They took my brother and I to a group home for a few days, and then a foster home. This was the first of five foster homes.

Throughout these years in foster care until I became an adult at 18 years old, I went through a unique struggle. I want to share the two things that I have used to turn my past into a success story. Education and mentorship. I have been in a group home, foster homes, and homeless. I am now a professional, thriving woman in college. A college education has changed my life completely. Anyone reading this, I want you to know that it is attainable. I applied for scholarships shamelessly in high school, and I still do, while I’m in college. One of my scholarships is for former foster youth, and there are many out there for any kind of person. There is a way! As for mentorship, a high school teacher took me under her wing and believed in me. This amazing woman stayed after school with me figuring out scholarships, my taxes, and even driving me to get my permit to drive as a senior in high school. Everyone needs a mentor. If you were not born with parents who fill the mentorship role, you must find it elsewhere, and honey, please do. This website is all for that. Use your resources, be the badass woman that you are, and strive on in the face of adversity.