Youth Villages stories

LifeSet Scholar, Sabina, in her graduation cap and gown with her two kids

Sabina builds a better life for her children

Jun 25, 2024 | Blog

Sabina, a single mother of two young girls under the age of 4, entered foster care after she and her sister suffered abuse at home from her parents. At 13, Sabina and her sister were living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. To get to school, they had to make a 30-minute commute to High Point, with no support from an adult.

Sabina took matters into her own hands and learned how to drive underage to get to school. Social services became aware of the circumstances, and that began Sabina’s journey into foster care.

Sabina is introduced to LifeSet through her foster care experience

Sabina entered a group home with her sister after social services learned of her underage driving and the abuse of her biological family. She made plans to run away with her sister to avoid separation from each other. They spent two weeks in the group home before moving in with her foster mother.

“She only had space for one, but something told her to take both of us in and we’ve been a family ever since,” Sabina said.

A few years later, social services introduced Sabina to Youth Villages’ LifeSet program. Since then, the program has seen Sabina through many aspects of her life. From turning 21, to moving out on her own and attending college. Sabina has also received an unwavering amount of support as she started her own family.

After graduating from high school, she enrolled at Guilford Technical Community College and entered the LifeSet Scholars program, which provides support for young people in LifeSet seeking academic degrees or vocational programs.

LifeSet was there to provide me with everything I needed to know and more to make sure I can live in this world with myself and my girls.

- Sabina

Sabina discovers a new sense of independence to care for her family

LifeSet connected Sabina to many resources to establish herself as an adult. It did not, however, mean circumstances were easy. She worked multiple jobs in the restaurant service industry to support her family while in school.

One day, Sabina attended a community resource fair hosted by Youth Villages, where she was connected to a member of United Bank. Together, they established a relationship and worked on interviewing skills as she looked for higher paying positions in the banking industry.

Sabina’s opportunity for better financial security came when she was contacted for a bank teller position at PNC bank. The recruiter was so impressed with Sabina that she offered to interview her for a higher paying position as a personal banker. After a series of interviews, Sabina was offered and accepted the role of personal banker with PNC.

This opportunity was a community effort between the banks and Youth Villages. The woman who helped Sabina prepare for interviews felt a personal connection to Sabina’s story. She was also a single mother and did everything to work with Sabina to ensure she succeeded for herself and her children.

“I cry tears of joy because this is the big break that I needed to make sure that I can provide for myself and my girls without having to be dependent on other people or government assistance,” Sabina said.

Focusing on her future while adapting to adulthood

Sabina’s primary focus is caring for her family.

“I don’t want my kids to grow up the way that I grew up,” Sabina said. “I think my drive, motivation and independence comes from being a single parent and making sure that I can build a successful life for them.”

Sabina also has a goal of becoming an entrepreneur and opening her own food truck one day. She plans to introduce her local LifeSet Scholar, Sabina posing for photo in front of a mirrorcommunity to her Mexican heritage through cuisine. Sabina says without LifeSet, she would’ve been navigating adulthood without any idea on what to do.

“I’ve had a lot of mental and emotional support with this program, they are like my third family because they’ve supported me through everything,” Sabina said.

Sabina’s story is a testament to the statement “it takes a village” with the help of United Bank, Youth Villages and all those involved.

For 20 years in North Carolina, transition-age foster youth have received extra support and a sense of security as they transition into adulthood through LifeSet. Today, the program continues to help young adults who often find themselves without natural support systems, to help them fill the gaps in education, housing and employment.

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