NORTHRIDGE (CBSLA.com) — During her time as a child in foster care, Kristie White was moved from home to home — an experience that left her with a desire for greater stability in her adult life.
“When I look back at that, I think, ‘That’s something a child shouldn’t go through,” she said.READ MORE: State Route 18 To Reopen Tonight After Being Washed Out On Christmas Eve
When she aged out of the system at 18, she was left with even more instability, until she connected with We Lift LA — a non-profit that helps mentor former foster youth in the San Fernando Valley.
The organization recently opened a shared house for young women where White is now living with four roommates who are also former foster children.
“It’s nice to finally be in one place,” she said.
The non-profit helps former foster kids with a host of other services including job training, networking and helping them get into college.
“Some of these guys and gals have never had someone tell them ‘I love you’ to them their entire life,” said Tony De Felicis, a former pastor and serves a life coach for hundreds of young people at We Lift LA. “We are about giving them hope. Coming alongside of them and letting them know that they can be winners in life.”READ MORE: Comedian Louie Anderson Dies At 68 After Battle With Cancer
For example, when CSUN student Bulmaro Garcia was in the foster care system, he thought his life would go anywhere. But he’s now enrolled in college thanks in part to his advisers at We Life LA.
Twenty-year-old Angel Alvarenga missed a lot of school growing up, mostly living on the streets before going into foster care.
But with the help of We Lift LA, he finally got his GED last year. In the crowd for the graduation ceremony were De Felicis and a We Lift LA board member.
“When they called my name, it was just two people Tony and Scott,” he recalled.
It was exactly the kind of moment We Lift LA has been working towards for years.
Even amid such successes, We Lift LA needs help; the organization is currently looking for volunteer mentors as well as financial donations.MORE NEWS: VP Kamala Harris Visiting San Bernardino To Tout $600M In Wildfire Recovery Money For Calif.
They have a fundraiser coming up on Thursday in Agoura Hills. Tickets are available at: http://weliftla.org.