Celebrating Success: The Village’s Older Youth Services Program and Its 2024 Graduates

The Villages is thrilled to announce the remarkable achievements of the 2024 graduates from our Older Youth Services (OYS) program. Designed to assist older youth in foster care in reaching their adulthood case plan goals, OYS focuses primarily on those expected to turn 18 while still in foster care. This June, we celebrate 53 high school graduates and 5 college graduates from our program. Here are the inspiring stories of three youths who have overcome significant obstacles to reach their educational milestones.

Daniel’s Journey of Resilience

Daniel entered the foster care system at the age of 12 due to neglect. Initially placed in a group home with his sibling, he later moved in with a family friend, Erin, who became a licensed foster parent to support them. Erin has remained a steadfast support for Daniel throughout his journey.

Daniel graduated from Ivy Tech with an Associate of Applied Science in Cyber Security and Information Assurance, alongside several related certificates. His academic journey was not without challenges; in December 2023, at the age of 21, Daniel was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Remarkably, he underwent six rounds of chemotherapy, with his final treatment taking place just a week before graduation. Despite this, Daniel maintained his grades and stayed on track to complete his degree. The week following his graduation, he received the joyous news that he is now cancer-free.

Daniel is currently taking a break from school but is eager to continue his education, aspiring to earn a degree in Criminal Justice. His determination and perseverance are truly commendable, and we are excited to see the future he will build.

Destiny’s Culinary Dream

Destiny is set to receive a Certificate in Culinary Arts from Ivy Tech at the end of June. Her passion for the culinary arts took her to Italy this semester, where she immersed herself in learning about international cuisine. With aspirations to own her own restaurant, Destiny plans to pursue a business degree from either Purdue or Indiana Tech.

Formerly in foster care, Destiny recently moved into her own apartment for the first time in April. She maintains close relationships with her two former foster mothers, biological family members, and former teachers and coaches from Wayne High School, where she participated in wrestling and tennis.

Adding to her list of achievements, Destiny was featured in a local news story last week for her role in helping run Ivy Tech’s student-operated food truck during her summer internship.

Alayah’s Academic and Personal Triumphs

Alayah, a 20-year-old single mother, has achieved remarkable success while balancing her responsibilities as a parent and a full-time worker. She graduated with an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice and plans to further her education at Indiana University South Bend (IUSB) to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, with the ultimate goal of becoming a lawyer.

Alayah’s journey through the foster care system began at age 15 due to neglect. With an infant son, she sought a better living situation and eventually found a supportive family she now calls mom and dad. They have been instrumental in her success, helping her to graduate with her High School Equivalency early and obtain her driver’s license. By age 18, Alayah had moved into her own apartment with her son and maintained a strong relationship with her siblings, who live nearby in a foster home.

A Bright Future Ahead

The success stories of Daniel, Destiny, and Alayah are testaments to the resilience and determination of the youths in our Older Youth Services program. We are incredibly proud of all our graduates and look forward to supporting their continued growth and achievements. Their stories inspire us all and highlight the vital role that community and support play in overcoming life’s challenges. Congratulations to the Class of 2024!

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