At Children’s Aid, the strength of our relationships with clients brings them back to us long after their time in our program is officially over. Often this is just a quick check-in and a time to celebrate a milestone in their lives.
At other times, it is because their current supports are not working and the client reconnects for assistance. In Nadirra’s case, it was the latter. Nadirra was always very engaged at Hope Leadership Academy in Harlem. She took advantage of every opportunity our afterschool program had to offer.
When she went to college last year, we hoped we had given her the tools she needed to succeed. But sometimes, a great tool kit is still not enough. Nadirra is in foster care. At 19 old, she is aging out, but she is still entitled to services through her non-Children’s Aid foster care provider.
For youth in foster care, early adulthood can be complicated by so many factors: foster parents who still have an emotional role but are no longer providing care; being thrust into adult responsibilities while still being relatively youn;, and unresolved trauma related to unstable placements and system involvement.
When Nadirra faced issues with her financial aid package and realized she was soon to be without housing after her college semester ended in May, she reached out to me and members of the team at Hope Leadership Academy.
Nadirra had strong ties with Janju Fisiru, a parent-child coordinator, and Cheyenne White, a mental health counselor at Hope and they too became supports and problem-solvers during the initial crisis. As a first step, I immediately engaged with Youth Division College Persistence partners Carolyn Torres and Clyde Weems.
They used the New York Times Neediest Cases Fund to provide immediate assistance and are also working to provide ongoing college support. Our Summer Youth Employment Director Sandino Sanchez is also involved, trying to help Nadirra find a job so she can be self-sufficient.
Sometimes it takes a village, and a social worker is the hub in a wheel of other caring people at Children’s Aid. Nadirra’s problems are not resolved just yet, but it's important to highlight that, when she hit a bump in the road, she knew where to turn. I’m happy that we are available to support her every step of the way