From Foster Youth to Wraparound Clients to Youth Partners: A Journey of Sisters

Kristin and Daisy

Our names are Kristin and Daisy, and we began to receive services from Wraparound at the ages of 17 and 15 years old. Wraparound had a big impact in our lives, and we hope that sharing our experience with others will shed light on the great resources and services this program offers. Before our family was introduced to Wraparound services, we were both placed in foster care, resulting in constant placement changes. After a year of moving from home to home, we both were granted to go and live with our older sister Enedina. She was 23 and at the time working two jobs and now she had the responsibility of taking care of two teenagers. We both were rebellious and had lost hope in one day being reunited with our parents. We didn’t have much communication with our older sister Enedina, and it became hard for her to keep track of what we were doing and where we were. Highly influenced by the drug and gang activity around us, we both participated in behavior and actions that escalated our problems at home. Our CSA social worker was aware of the problems that were going on at home, and how difficult it was becoming for our older sister to care for us. To prevent another placement change, we were referred by our social worker to Aspiranet’s Wraparound services.

We were all very clueless about what this program was about. Each person in the home had someone assigned to them to assist them with their needs. We both had individual support counselors, and Enedina had a parent partner. There was a facilitator involved as well as a clinician on our team. It was very hard for all of us to open up at first. They came to our home multiple times a week; it was hard adjusting to that. We didn’t really understand why they always had to visit us or why we needed to be in constant communication with them.  However, as time went by they became like family, and it was easy to open up and utilize the services Wraparound was offering to us. That’s what helped us build a strong relationship with each team member. We knew they cared about us and wanted us to keep our placement.

The people involved in our Wraparound group truly went above and beyond. If we didn’t have a ride to school, someone made sure to get us to school on time. If we didn’t have anything to eat, they provided a meal for us. We had game nights where we all got together at our home and played a game. We also had sessions at home where we expressed any concerns or resolved any issues we were having with each other. This strengthened our communication with Enedina. Education was not always our top priority, but Wraparound made sure that we were attending school every day and completing our homework. What made it easy for us to engage in Wraparound was the genuine team that we had. They were patient with us. They understood our situation and came up with ideas and activities to resolve our problems at home or in our personal lives. We did activities to boost our self-esteem, learn about forgiveness and growth and how to voice our opinions and thoughts in a healthy way.  There are so many moments where this program pulled through for us and made miracles happen. Each person in our group played a huge part in our successful completion of the program.

We both agree that having a support counselor was very beneficial. This was someone we could go to individually and express any feelings or thoughts. We felt safe and heard. We set goals with our support counselors and they made sure to keep track of the progress made towards those goals. When they saw progress or a step was taken to achieve a goal, they celebrated our accomplishment even if it was a small one.  In addition, one of our support counselors took one of us on a trip to a local University to explore what college was like. That was the first time one of us had ever been to a University or thought about college.

After Wraparound services ended, our bond as sisters was stronger. The program helped us realize how important family is. Being a foster youth, you lose hope in having a family again. You get wrapped up in all these emotions that you forget the true meaning of having a family.

What Wraparound did for our family is put the missing pieces to our puzzle so that our family can come together and stay together. This program influenced us to someday become a social worker or counselor. We hope that we can make an impact in other families the way this program did for ours.

Kristin: I am 26 years old now, and I have a 4-year-old son. I love motherhood and all the lessons it has taught me. It’s what has help me grow and mature into the person I am today. I live on my own with my son in Modesto. I just graduated from Modesto Junior College and received an associate’s degree in sociology. I plan on transferring to CSU Stanislaus to pursue a bachelor’s degree and then my master’s. My ultimate goal is to become a social worker and work with foster youth, or a counselor. Currently I work as a youth advisor for a Youth Employment program called Project YES. I have been there for three years and enjoy what I do. I have the opportunity to assist young adults in our community gain work experience as well as finding permanent employment. As a past client of this program, I am able to relate to some of these young adults on a different level, and I think that’s what makes my job easy. Wraparound has opened my eyes on what my purpose in life is. I hope I can make the same impact this program has impacted me. The Wraparound program holds a special place in my heart.

Daisy: I am currently enrolled at Modesto Junior College, and I am planning on receiving an associate’s degree in sociology in May of 2021 and transfer out to CSU Stanislaus. I want to eventually get my master’s so that I can work as a social worker. My experience has inspired me to serve other youth with similar barriers and struggles I have been through. Wraparound gave me a sense of security in what I want to do for a living and that is serve families in my community.

For anyone considering Wraparound services, this program really will go above and beyond to ensure stability and healthy relationships in the home. Your voice and needs matter to them. They want to help keep families together. For any potential youth participants, this is your chance to have someone on your side who will advocate for you. Your voice matters, and your needs matter, too.

 

Read more stories from youth partners

A Child's Voice and Hope, by Erica Jacquez

 

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