Yasmin remembers the fear that enveloped her when she witnessed her alcoholic father repeatedly beat her mother. Frightened and angry, Yasmin was caught in a world of instability and emotional turmoil, leading her down a dark path of self-destruction.

“When I was at home, I felt that nobody cared about me, so why should I?” Yasmin confesses. “I never even thought I would graduate high school.”

No longer safe in her own home, Yasmin was 14 when she entered foster care. That’s when everything changed. She finally had a chance. She found guidance and encouragement, which inspired a large dose of self-motivation. She turned her path around and raised her GPA from a 1.0 to a 2.93.

With her newfound ambition, Yasmin jumped at another chance to learn, to prepare for her future – out of the classroom.

Through a Children’s Home Society of Florida scholarship, Yasmin received the once-in-a-lifetime chance to serve as a Senate page and spent a week in Tallahassee walking the Capitol halls with legislators, meeting elected officials and sharing her personal experience in Florida’s child welfare system.

“It was such an unexpected opportunity, and I would have never had that chance without Children’s Home Society of Florida,” Yasmin says.

Soon after her experience at the Capitol, Yasmin turned 18 and officially exited the foster care system – without any family to rely on for support. But, because of Children’s Home Society of Florida, she wasn’t alone.

“If I was completely on my own when I turned 18, it would be such a big struggle,” Yasmin says. “Because of Children’s Home Society of Florida, I’m able to focus on school without worrying about where I’m going to sleep or what I’m going to eat.”

We’ve done more than help Yasmin find safe and stable housing. We’re also teaching her much-needed life skills to help her on the road to independence, such as how to properly manage her money, find health care, prepare for job interviews and plan for her career. Through ongoing guidance, encouragement and coaching, we’ve even worked with her to set goalsand priorities for her life.

“Children’s Home Society of Florida helps teens like me embrace their futures so we don’t become another statistic,” Yasmin says. “Without it, a lot more kids would be out on the streets or in jail.”

Yasmin’s worked too hard to become a statistic. A high school graduate, she has big goals for the future and is on track to finish her associate’s degree, taking one more step as she pursues her dream of becoming an anesthesiologist.

“I’m going to become the best person I can be and take care of my family,” Yasmin says. “I want to give my mom what she couldn’t give me.”