|My name is Kimberly Melendrez. I am 18 years old and I just recently graduated from Todd Beamer High School and am going to be a freshmen at the University of Washington Tacoma in the fall. I am very excited to be attending college and to go on this new journey in my life. Getting to where I am was very difficult. I have had many doubts about myself and my ability to succeed. Growing up things were very difficult. It all started when I was 9 years old and entered the foster care system. I have been through abuse and homelessness and have lived in many different foster homes. I was never adopted, my brothers were but I wasn’t and that tore me apart. I had to grow up and do things on my own. It was challenging and I lost myself and lost control of who I was and what I wanted to be. It was hard trying to maintain good grades when my life around me crumbled and I felt alone. In 2018 I lost someone close to me. She had helped me twice when I didn’t have a home. I held her hand while she passed away. At first I was numb to her passing but then I cried and was depressed for a while. I had run away before she passed and I blamed myself but after counseling and talking through my problems I was able to forgive myself and move past this obstacle in my life .I’ve gotten better over time and am able to tell this story to explain to you that going to college and being successful isn’t impossible. I had to go through a lot of stuff to get to where I am but those challenges do not define me, they only made me stronger.
More than ever we need your help to host Celebrate 18! 2020 and let our young ladies aging out of foster care know that they are valuable, important and loved, and remind them that their challenges do not define them.
See also: Treehouse Graduation Spotlight event coming up!