Vicki’s Story

Posted by on Dec 8, 2015 in Stories | 0 comments

Hathaway-Sycamores Success Story

Vicki shares a laugh and a deep bond with her TILP clinician Francisco Torres.

The heart-wrenching details are forever etched in Vicki’s mind. It was December of 2010, and Vicki – then 15 – was on winter break, as were her two younger sisters and one younger brother. Instead of enjoying a holiday vacation, the four kids – and their mother – were living in a compact car, surviving on an occasional slice of bread. On one cold and rainy night, Vicki and the others were awoken by a police officer’s blinding flashlight.

That bright beam triggered a series of scarring events. Vicki’s mother was deemed mentally unstable, physically abusive, and dangerously neglectful. Vicki’s father, who had recently separated from his wife, consistently failed to protect his kids or intervene in any way. The Department of Children and Family Services stepped in and placed the siblings in separate group homes. Just before Vicki started her senior year in high school, all four siblings were reunited in one foster home.

Vicki graduated from high school and was emancipated from the foster system. Like many emancipated foster youth, she had nowhere to live…until she was referred to Hathaway-Sycamores’ Transitional Independent Living Program (TILP). TILP provides housing, mental-health services, as well as vocational and life-skills training to those transitioning from foster placements to adulthood.

Vicki’s clinician – Francisco Torres – says that after being in TILP for less than two years, Vicki blossomed from an anxious, hopeless teen into a focused young woman looking forward to a fulfilling future.

With TILP’s guidance, Vicki is now a junior at the University of California, Santa Barbara, with her sights set on becoming a college English professor. “Without TILP,” Vicki explains, “I wouldn’t be on the positive path that I am. They saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself, and they were so passionate about helping me. I will always be grateful for this program.”

In Los Angeles County alone, more than 1,400 young people emancipate from foster care annually, and nearly 50 percent become homeless within six months. Hathaway-Sycamores’ Transitional Independent Living Program is helping to fill this gaping hole in the foster-care system and enabling young adults – like Vicki – to successfully move forward in their lives.

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