Power of One
Hannah Reno Walker
I have been in foster care since I was a little girl. From what I remember, I entered foster care at age 13 and was put into Sally’s House with my brother for several months. Later, we were both put into the same foster home in the Central Valley School District. I was upset and missed my mother; it was the same for my brother.
We were both placed with my father and stepmother after about a year, and found out we had a 1-year-old sister. My stepmother was also pregnant at the time. After two years of living with my father things got rough, so we were put back into foster care and lived with my aunt and uncle for a while.
I was then placed in a group home where I was separated from my brother for the first time. I spent about a month there until I was put into yet another foster care home. I lived in this home for a year, but was then placed in Tamarack, a living center for kids. I did well there and graduated a year later.
After leaving Tamarack I was placed into a home called Breakthrough which is a BRS home. It was here that I learned independent living skills, and started working on my path to high school graduation. As time went on, I learned how to cook, clean, and how to look for a job when I needed one. The staff there were supportive and made me feel like I had a family for the first time in a long time. Through my work with Independent Living staff (IL), I received a grant for drivers education and soon landed my driver’s permit.
After doing well at Breakthrough, IL staff referred me to the Independent Youth Housing Program (IYHP). They told me I would get to pay less for rent if I stayed in school, had good attendance, and did what I needed to do. I took them up on this amazing offer, and they have treated me very kindly in the process of making my dream of having my own place a reality. I moved out of Breakthrough into my new apartment on April 26, 2016!
Till this day, I continue to keep in contact and receive support from IL staff. I attend monthly IL meetings where we discuss different topics such as how to stay out of debt. I am really happy being on my own and living independently. I was glad the IL program gave someone like me a chance to grow. I am looking forward to having a bright future. I know it’s going to take a lot of work, but I am up for the challenge. I know it has been a long journey but it’s also shaped me into the person I am today.