The life transformation stories of Michael and Sarah beautifully express the impact of the BCFS Kerrville Transition Center on Hill Country youth. Michael wanted to overcome his criminal past, and Sarah was struggling with the transition into foster care. Both of them found respite, encouragement and new opportunities at the BCFS Kerrville Transition Center.
Many consider today’s youth to be the future of our community. If that’s the case, the impact of BCFS Health and Human Services’ Kerrville Transition Center will be felt in the Hill Country – socially and economically – for years to come. The stories of Sarah and Michael are especially indicative of the life transformations happening every day at the transition center.
Defying the Odds & Beating the Statistics
Sarah Howell had just lost her biological mother and entered foster care when she learned about the BCFS Kerrville Transition Center. She says at that crossroads in her life she felt overwhelmed by the decisions she was being asked to make about her future. Statistically, youth in foster care are more likely to struggle with poverty, teen pregnancies and unemployment, and knowing that the odds were against her she felt discouraged.
BCFS case manager Kimberly Clayton entered Sarah in the Preparation for Adult Living program, which helps youth in foster care prepare for emancipation. BCFS helped her apply for college and financial aid, and celebrated with her when she entered college to study physical therapy and earn teaching certifications for History and English. Although only 3% of youth in foster care attend and graduate college, Sarah is already on her way to defying the odds.
And she’s not alone. BCFS helped 552 Kerrville youth complete a GED program, graduate high school or register for trade school or college last year.
“The encouragement from my case manager was like a breath of fresh air,” Sarah says. “Knowing I had her support helped me immensely. She believed in me and wanted me to succeed. The support from my family and case manager helped me get where I am today. I owe them everything.”
Building a Brighter Future, Brick by Brick
Kerrville-native Michael Tapscott grew tired of his run-ins with the law and wanted better for himself and his family. When his mother and probation officer suggested he go to the BCFS Kerrville Transition Center, he decided to heed their advice.
“Michael was looking for a way to help himself and his family,” says Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie, BCFS’ Development Officer and mentor to Michael. “It’s wonderful to see him confident and hopeful about his future. I’ve enjoyed watching him become the man God intended him to be.”
The BCFS Kerrville Transition Center helped Michael receive construction training and find steady work on construction sites around Kerrville. In a serendipitous twist, Michael has been assigned to the construction crew currently building the new BCFS facility set to open in 2015 – the BCFS Hill Country Resource Center.
The nearly 20,000 square foot center will be the centerpiece of the non-profit block on Kerrville’s Main Street. BCFS and several other Hill Country non-profits will be housed there. The shared space model emphasizes accountability in the youth, ensures services aren’t duplicated, and helps the organizations work efficiently by leverageing one another’s talents and resources.
For more information about BCFS’ work in Kerrville, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Kerrville.
Did You Know?
In 2014, the BCFS Kerrville Transition Center celebrated major victories with the youth they serve:
- 94% of truant youth returned to school after receiving outreach services, avoiding the juvenile justice system (Youth Averted from Delinquency Program)
- 87% of youth who admitted to struggling with substance abuse experienced a decrease in use six months after completing the program.
- 44% of high school graduates enrolled in post-secondary education this past year (Education and Training Voucher Scholarship Program)