Stepping out into the real world after high school graduation can be difficult. Whether students are moving off to go to college, staying closer to home, or just taking some time off, there is usually a parent there to help with the adjustment. But 15 seniors from the South Plains area are moving forward without those guiding hands.
High school graduation marks the beginning of a life of independence. But for some students, stepping out into the real world without the support of family can be difficult.
"These kids do not have the same benefit as a child with supportive parents," explains case worker Kami Jackson.
She says children living in foster care facilities like Buckner Children's Home beat the odds when they graduate from high school.
"Compassionate kids who have had a lot stacked against them and have come through in shining colors, and I'm very proud of them," she says.
Out of the young adults in foster care on the South Plains, 15 are graduating from high school. Out of those 15, seven will attend college.
Coronado High School graduate Reva Reed has been living at Buckner for six years, graduating means leaving the home and starting a life on her own.
"I'm kind of nervous now because they're not going to be here to help me, and so, I'm just going to be on my own and so it's kind of nerve racking," Reva says.
She's been working two jobs while finishing her senior year just to save up for an apartment before leaving for Angelo State University in the fall.
"There is no in-between for foster kids, they have to have a job and most of them are struggling right now," says Kami.
Struggling without the support of parents.
"I've started to give them the curtains from my walls and extra bedding that I have just to get them by, give them a start because they deserve it," she says.
While hoping this will kick start a life of independence.
"When I leave, I get to make all the decisions and so that's going to be nice," says Reva.
"And hopefully, break through the stigma of being in foster care and do something with their lives that will make a difference," adds Kami.
Because of state budget cuts, $40,000 has been removed from money that is used to aid foster care graduates and help them with their cost of living when they move out on their own.
If you're interested in helping Reva or other foster care graduates, you can call Buckner Children and Family Services at (806) 795-7151.