By Libby Smith

DENVER (CBS4) – Each year in Colorado, about 250 teens age out of the foster care system. For those without a support system, the future can look pretty bleak. Statistically they’re more likely to be homeless, incarcerated, jobless, and use drugs. Raise the Future offers a mentorship program designed to turn those outcomes around, it’s called CHOICE.

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“I just like to bike. I like to be outdoors,” 18-year-old Seth told CBS4 on a bright warm spring day.

It was that one shared interest that became the basis for a much bigger connection.

“We actually got him a bike for our house for Christmas, so that’s what he rode over here today,” said Julie, Seth’s mentor through the CHOICE program.

“It’s one thing that we do pretty consistently when he comes over to see us, because we know he enjoys it, and we enjoy it,” said Cary, also Seth’s mentor.

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Julie and Cary felt a calling to mentor a teen, so they turned to Raise the Future’s CHOICE program. They see it as an opportunity to improve a young person’s life.

“Someone that they can talk to , and you can give advice if needed. But more than anything, just someone who’s a consistent support in their life no matter what,” Cary explained.

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“Also, giving them a chance to see what a normal home is like, and how does it function, and how do you fit into it,” Julie added.

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Seth fits into their family in the most amazing ways.

“The connection that he’s made with our kids is really amazing,” Cary said.

“I thought it would be a really cool experience being able to help someone out on their journey of life,” said Keenan, 13.

“I wasn’t so sure about it at first,” said Vera, 10. “But then after I met Seth I was like, ‘Wow, this is just perfect.’”

Even when the family is not together, the kids are often playing video games with Seth online. Seth just turned 18-years-old. And while he’ll always be eligible for help from the state, now he’s got a family at his back.

“I love them. They love me,” he said.

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Every year, CBS4 hosts A Day 4 Wednesday’s Child to raise money and awareness of the good work being done by Raise the Future. Tune in to CBS4 on Wednesday, April 14th for Day 4 Wednesday’s Child. You can make a donation at www.raisefuture.org, text FUTURE to 41444, or call (303) 755-4756.

Libby Smith