By Britt Moreno
DENVER (CBS4) – Imagine being completely on your own at 18 without any family support. It’s a heartbreaking reality for hundreds of teenagers in Colorado like GeQwan. He spent his childhood hoping for a family, but never found that stability or love.
“What is it like for kids in that position in foster care?” CBS4’s Britt Moreno asked GeQwan.
“Very dark, very lonely, and very unpredictable,” he responded.
LINK: Adopt Colorado Kids
He has found happiness in his cooking and hope through a local non-profit called “Dream Makers”. His passion for culinary work and his raw talent earned him a culinary degree out of Boulder. He achieved the goal after he aged out.
“What kept me alive to be honest? My hunger and drive to make myself a better person” he said.
Former foster parent, Julie Davis, met GeQwan during the infancy of his personal chef business. She said she would see kids age out without families too often.
CBS4 SPECIAL REPORTS: Aging Out
“It’s heartbreaking. They don’t have anywhere to go for the holidays. They are forgotten on their birthdays” says Davis. She goes on to explain how kids often times turn to drugs or are homeless.
Davis started Dream Makers. It’s a local non-profit that offers kids who age out of foster care a wish. Some of those wishes include a winter coat or a computer. Some ask for bus passes or grocery store gift cards. One girl was too embarrassed to smile because she did not have proper dental care, so she wished for veneers. GeQwan wished for pots and pans. Dream Makers gave GeQwan copper pots and a chef’s wardrobe.
“What did they do for you?” Moreno asked.
“They gave me something that no one was willing to give,” GeQwan responded.
“What is that?” Moreno followed up.
“Compassion, understanding and love…and actually supported my dream,” GeQwan said.
The following are helpful resources for people who are aging out of foster care and for the people who care for them.
Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Public Awareness Campaign
Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline
Learn more about foster care and adoption in Colorado.
United Way Bridging the Gap
helping teens live on their own after foster care
Dream Makers Project
making dreams come true for former foster care youth
life skills program provided through human services dept. of each county
CBS4 Wednesday’s Child Section
The Adoption Exchange
promoting adoption for foster care youth
Adoption Exchange’s Birthday Wishes Program
Office of the Lt. Governor
SOAR! Youth & Adult Choir
soaryouthandadultchoir.org 720-218-1433 (Youth)