LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – While many families are excited about going back to school, foster children have added stresses that are unimaginable to most of us.
Dominique Ross is building a stellar portfolio behind the lens. He went to Santa Monica College, he’s shot on the red carpet at the BET Awards and he’s learning the business of being a freelance photographer.READ MORE: Grieving Family Looking For Killer Of 22-Year-Old Alejandro Legaria Rangel In Huntington Park
“I currently right now have a photography mentor, so I’m still learning as I’m going as far as industry stuff, and learning how an invoice should look, or how should I reach out to clients, or advertise myself,” Ross tells CBS2 News This Morning’s Suzanne Marques.
Ross is proud of how far he’s come. He grew up in foster care in South L.A. with daily struggles for things many of us take for granted.
One organization is helping children and young adults beat the odds and have a chance for success. The non-profit group Make Good Inc. provides a store where people can shop for free, specifically foster children and young adults who age out of foster care without a forever home and family.
“Things that people aren’t aware of is sometimes you really need that extra help,” Ross said. “You need clothing sometimes, and food sometimes, lunch is provided here.”
“We are talking about a population of young people who are disproportionately impacted by everything,” said Ruth Stalford, founder of Make Good. “Poverty, unhoused, lack of access to education tools. So what we’re trying to do, is we’re trying to release some of that pressure.”
Make Good helps children from infancy to adulthood with new clothes, shoes and essentials.READ MORE: Man Shot And Stabbed Outside Crowded Glendale Pastry Shop, Suspect On The Loose
“There was a time that I came and I was able to get some Nike shoes that was really comfortable,” Ross said. “I don’t have them anymore, unfortunately, but I looked online and couldn’t believe I got the shoes for free. So I feel like that was dope to know that I got some comfortable, good shoes that were high quality.”
“Only the best” is a motto for Stalford, who is currently organizing a back to school giveaway for 600 Los Angeles children in foster care.
“By providing the most top shelf, high quality items for back to school supplies, sweats, sweatshirt, a book bundle that’s great, and age appropriate masks, the kinds of things that people would have to go spend money on,” Stalford said. “Let’s take that out of their budget. And let’s provide them with those things. And so at least we can help make sure that their kids have the same things that our kids have.”
Because he had a helping hand, Ross pays it forward by working with foster children.
“Being a former foster youth and working with foster youth right now definitely means a lot to me because I kind of can identify their needs and wants right before they even say, or knowing if they’re hesitant or quiet like, ‘Hey, what is the reason for this? What do you need help with.’…So I try to navigate what they need help with,” Ross said.
The deck seems stacked against them. 5,000 children in L.A. age out of the foster care system every year. According to Make Good, about half of them often end up homeless or incarcerated. Ross beat the odds, and he’s making sure other kids do too.MORE NEWS: Man Struck Multiple Times In Daylight Shooting In Riverside
If you’d like to help, Make Good holds events year-round for children and transitional youth. For more information on how to donate, click here.