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Starting on path toward a bright future through YVLifeSet

March 4, 2016

With help through the YVLifeSet program, Emily is overcoming her anxiety and achieving her goals.

Emily, 18, drove home from class and pulled into her foster mother’s driveway. She stepped out of her new car with a quiet confidence.

“This is where Leslie and I live,” Emily said. “She’s my foster mom and my best friend. Living here has been really good for me.”

Not long ago, Emily had severe anxiety and depression. She grew up with an abusive father, and her mother had bipolar disorder.

“Our home was like a war zone,” Emily said. “I felt lost. Mom refused to accept the truth about the abuse. She didn’t take her medication, and her moods were all over the place.”

When she moved in with Leslie, Emily’s anxiety was crippling. She had flashbacks and emotional breakdowns. She stopped going to school and was scared to leave the house. Leslie and Emily sought information about Youth Villages’ YVLifeSet program.

“After she warmed up to Leslie, Emily felt at home for the first time,” said April Tussing, Youth Villages YVLifeSet specialist. “She finally has a safe haven and a support system.”

April meets with Emily on a regular basis, helping her prepare for a bright future.

“Emily was taking more than 10 medications when I met her,” April said. “Together, we regulated her medicine and discovered alternate ways for her to cope with anxiety.”

Emily uses essential oils to calm her nerves and sees a therapist to work through past trauma. She decreased her medications and is learning to talk through her emotions.

“April keeps me grounded,” Emily said. “When I feel like I’m stumbling, she reminds me of my goals and passions. I know I have a bright future, but sometimes I need reminding.”

Working on such practical life skills as budgeting and time management, Emily sees that her dreams are within reach. She is in her first semester of college, pursuing forensic anthropology. She has a bank account and reached her goal of buying her own car.

“Any resources we offer, Emily takes advantage,” April said. “I am so proud of how far she has come.”

Emily has all A’s and B’s in school and volunteers at an animal shelter. She hopes to become a YV Scholar.

“April and Leslie have helped me enjoy life again,” Emily said. “I’m hopeful for my future.”

Learn more about how the YVLifeSet program helps young adults aging out of foster care at

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