Today, you might assume Ana is any typical young adult: she loves to read, watch TV, write poetry and play tennis. She’s set to graduate college and already planning her graduate degree, with big ambitions. Ana’s path to success today, however, has been anything but typical. Ana entered the foster care system when she was 7 days old. Her birth mother had her at 17 and was unable to care for her because she was homeless and used drugs. Ana was born with a life-threatening diagnosis. But she grew up surrounded by unconditional love, the foster family who cared for Ana as an infant became her adoptive family, the only family she’d ever known and Ana felt safe and sure about her future.
That stability came crashing down when Ana was 11 years old and her adoptive father passed away, followed by her adoptive mother’s passing 5 years later. Ana returned to the foster care system at 16 years old, feeling scared and abandoned. But then she came to NAC. NAC became the family and stability that Ana didn’t yet have at home. Her social workers, therapists, psychiatrists, nurses, tutors, and education specialists provided the network of support and care to ensure Ana was physically, emotionally, and financially secure. With a life-threatening diagnosis, constant doctor appointments, and medication were nothing new for Ana. What was new: having the support system to keep her on track with medication and appointments, and access to support groups to meet other kids who shared some of the same challenges. Those kids have become some of her best friends.
Now Ana is thriving and ready to use her own experience and adversity to help others. She’s graduating from Hunter College with a bachelor’s sociology and looking forward to eventually pursuing her graduate degree in social work. She hopes to return to NAC as an employee, so she can help children the way NAC helped her.