Youth Villages stories

LifeSet participant Jahlin

Breaking Generational Cycles Through Education and Mentorship

Mar 21, 2024 | Blog, Featured Stories, LifeSet

Hear from Jahlin, LifeSet participant

I’m the first in my family to graduate high school and go to college, which is not something I always thought was possible. My mom struggled with addiction, and I entered state custody at 8 years old. There wasn’t a lot of stability; we moved around a lot between foster homes, sometimes with my siblings and sometimes without. I went to five different high schools in my freshman year. It’s an experience I don’t wish on anyone.

When I was 17, a year away from aging out of foster care, I met with a LifeSet specialist. I was very hesitant at first because I don’t trust easily. I’ve worked with a lot of caseworkers during my time in the system, so I was ready to be done with that. But once she started showing me examples of ways they’ve been able to support other young people who had been in foster care, I became more interested. At the time, I wasn’t sure if I was even going to graduate high school, but then my eyes were kind of opened to the possibilities I hadn’t considered.

Loyal is the best word to describe my LifeSet specialist. It’s incredible how everyone seems to truly want to see us successful in life. They helped me with college applications, budgeting, financial aid, getting everything I needed for my dorm, and now I feel competent in those areas.

I’m proud to feel like I’m breaking generational cycles and can be a positive example for my nieces and nephews.

- Jahlin

I’m currently studying health and human biology at Austin Peay University because I want to make a difference through education. I always trusted my coaches growing up, so I’d love to play that role for other kids. I hope to graduate early and become a physical education teacher and basketball coach, roles I take very seriously. If that means simply teaching kids to throw a football or basketball, I just want to be there for them.

To learn more about the barriers young people face when aging out of foster care, the impact of the LifeSet program on their lives, and how you can help, visit the LifeSet website.

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