As a child, Nala had an incredible neighbor named Joyce, who cared for and loved Nala like she was her own. Long stretches of her childhood were spent with Joyce, so much so that Nala started to call her grandma. Nala’s mother was in and out of jail and had few options for childcare, which led Joyce to adopt Nala at 14. Her journey to adulthood, however, would not be an easy one.

In only 3 short years after adoption, life began to beat Nala down. Joyce became disabled, Nala’s sister heavily relied on her for free childcare, and she worked part-time to provide for her family. At the age of 17, faced with many obstacles, she was still determined to finish school and obtain her driver’s license. This is when she began working with a Community Connections Youth Project® specialist at FosterAdopt Connect who helped her study and complete budgets to close the gap back to a normal life, and inch by inch it seemed like Nala was gaining stability.

And then Joyce passed away.

The sadness felt by the loss of a loved one can shake anyone to their core. However, the reality for a kid in the system is that loss comes with more upheaval than just heartbreak. Nala was shuffled between any family members that could be found – being bounced from one bad situation to another. All of Nala’s steady progress towards her goals had been placed indefinitely on pause. However, her determination led her to once again enlist the help of the same specialist at FosterAdopt Connect. Together, they set up doctor’s appointments, went to court hearings, attended meetings, and did what was needed to get back on track.

Almost 1 full year after joining the program, a year that consisted of more stress and strife than many adults see in a lifetime, Nala moved into her own apartment. Not only was she living in her own home, but she also got a new job, kept up on her driving lessons, and, most importantly, graduated from high school as a full-fledged adult.

Nala’s story isn’t as unique as you might think. Children transitioning into adulthood are faced with constant and overwhelming challenges. Nala was fortunate enough to find support, but not everyone does. Many kids her age don’t even realize that help is out there. If you know a child in need or want to just learn more about the program, click here to find out how the Community Connections Youth Project® is helping kids close the gap to adulthood every day. Also, you can always donate to the cause and help keep kids happy, healthy, and safe.