A few short months ago, and as a brand new client at RFLB, Arianna sat at a table in the heart of the Ready for Life Brevard family room while Ms. Pam listened to her story.
Arianna explained where she'd been, what she'd gone through in the horror of the years that resulted in her foster care experience and the years of faithful counseling she still depended on as a result. She told her where she was- excited to be pursuing a college education through a PESS grant. And finally, in her authentic, vulnerable and always hopeful way, she asked for our help with the direction of her future.
Like so many of our clients, Arianna's hopes were becoming paralyzed by fundamental needs that were not being met. Stable housing, a supportive adult to which she could turn, extra help with her college classes, a sense of belonging, community and home. And not just for herself, she explained, her young children's lives were at stake too. They were counting on her and her determination to provide a better life for them than had been provided for her was palpable.
Since her first day of tutoring, it's been a great privilege to witness the relationship and trust unfolding in the Learning Lab between Arianna and Denise. Each time, I see Arianna's eyes fill with relief and growing determination. Over and over I witness the consistent soft, uplifting tone of Denise's instruction as she sits like a sentry next to Arianna, her posture solid and upright protecting the space, guarding the time, a hero for releasing potential held captive unjustly and for far too long. And finally, and best of all, I see Arianna's growing confidence and belief in herself with each new moment of understanding.
Today, Arianna has just moved into her first apartment. She's learning how to juggle a lot of responsibilities with her kids, college classes at EFSC, as a first time renter and the essential task of maintaining her mental health and self care in the middle of it all. As you'll see in her words below, Arianna's life is changing for the better. She's hopeful and that hope keeps her motivated to provide hope for others.
"I want other foster care adults and kids aging out to know
it's ok to have someone care for us. And it's ok to grow.
It's scary, but I want them to know it's possible. And there is so much more to them
than the the trauma and the things they went through.
They don't have to be the victim.
They can be a survivor and overcome."