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Andru tries again — and gets results

May 28, 2013


Andru’s in his second stint in Youth Villages’ transitional living program, and it’s paying off. He’s enrolled in college, interviewing for jobs, working on money management and looking for an apartment. You could say he’s getting it together.

Not so long ago, that wasn’t the case.

Living in a car that would soon be taken away, Andru was in dire straits. He wanted to get out of foster care and do his own thing, but he trusted people who took advantage of him. During his senior year, he dropped out of high school.

“I was too trusting, and I learned the hard way,” Andru said. “I’ve worked at factories and other places, doing what I had to do.”

In addition to finances, part of Andru’s struggle was personal. He had to learn how to be more assertive.

Because of his high school status, getting a GED was difficult, and he ran into some resistance from some schools. Andru had to learn how to be his own advocate. Youth Villages Transitional Living Specialist Steven Knapp helped.

In addition to the GED, Steven helped Andru with other adult necessities, such as getting health insurance, managing money, finding employment and going to college.

“Before, I was more passive about things happening to me,” Andru said. “Now I’m not shy about asking questions or asking for help.” Through the help of a friend’s father, Andru found additional support he needed.

He became a fighter for his future.

He recently began studying computer technology at a local college and is looking for a job.

“There’s a lot more collaboration between us,” Steven said. “At first, it was as if he didn’t know how to receive help. Now, he’s working with me to better his future.”

And while Andru said his last foster home was the best one he’d been in, his adjustment to adulthood has taken some time.

“Now that I look back, I have grown a lot in a short amount of time,” Andru said. “Without Youth Villages, I don’t know if I’d be in college – maybe later, but not now. I’d probably just be working in a factory.”

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