Madison grew up in the foster care system from an early age. She never really found out the details of why her parents gave her up, nor does she care to.
“I don’t know who my parents are, and I don’t want to,” she tells me matter-of-factly.
When Madison turned 18, she was a senior in high school. For most kids in America, turning 18 is an exciting event. For Madison, it meant she had aged-out of the foster care system and was now responsible for finding a place to live, managing her money, shopping on her own, and still finishing high school.
“I’ve always been an independent person – I had to be. I knew no one else would take care of me,” she says. “But when I left the group home, I’ll be honest. I faltered a bit. Going to school and trying to manage everything was just too much.”
Madison ended up dropping out during her last semester and started working a minimum-wage job.
“About a month in [to working at my job], I realized that I was making some bad decisions that weren’t going to lead me down a good path. I found out about the Phoenix Dream Center from my school counselor who I still talked with, so I called them. Best decision I’ve made.”
Madison settled into one of our transitional homes and quickly flourished. She earned her diploma through an online high school and decided to start community college part-time while keeping her job.
“I really appreciate the Phoenix Dream Center. They let me make my own decisions, but they still gave me support. They really care about me. Sometimes I feel weird because I’ve never really had a family, but this feels like what a family would be.”