Hi, my name is Catherine Kamara and my son Isaiah and I came to Florence Crittenton Services February 2007. I was 17yrs old & my son was 4wks old. Finding out that my step-mother no longer wanted to care for me & was willing to give my son and I up for custody was devastating. At the age of eleven I lost my mother & less then a year later I lost my father & honestly the only person I had as a guardian was my step-mother who promised my biological parents that she’ll care for my siblings & I & be there for us no matter what. But January 18,2007 when my newborn was only 5 days old she made that very clear that everything she told my parents was nothing but lies. The day DSS was called to my house by my school social workers was the same day both my son & I was placed in the foster care system. That second when I heard my foster care social worker’s supervisor on the phone said “Alright we have no other choice but to place them both in foster care” I literally thought my life was over & I automatically thought my son will be lost in the system forever because I was turning 18 & aging out of the system. I was devastated, scared, nervous, & felt like there was absolutely no hope that I’ll ever accomplish anything to prove to my child that I want a better future for him. That night the Alamance County DSS removed us out of my house I made my social worker promise me that she’ll never separate my son & I. I’m proud to say that she held up to her promise & fought hard to find a place that will accept both my son & I, & that’s when the Alamance County DSS found FCS which has a program call Sarah’s House (a Mother & Child program).. Upon my arrival to FCS I promised myself that I will not allow anything to block me from my goals. I had to let go of a lot of negative things in my life in order for me to stay focus on a brighter future for the little child I brought into this world. Many days & nights I cried my eyes out & wanted to give up but the staff members at FCS who looked at me as their own child reminded me daily of how bright of a future I have ahead of me. My son’s first home was FCS, his first brothers/sisters were the many kids in Sarah’s House, he has so many Aunties & Grandmas at FCS that till this day he still remembers them by name & they’ll do anything for him. My plan was to never get close as I did with majority of the residents at FCS, some of them are as close to me as blood sisters & I love them dearly. I was so scared of the foster care system because of what I heard growing up as a child, but the county I had when I was in foster care showed me a completely different outcome of the system & FCS just put the cherry on top of the stress free life that they offered me & my child. There was no stressing in when I’ll be able to eat again, or who will pay this month’s bills, all I worried about was learning how to be a wonderful mother to my child & finishing my education. FCS was the biggest stepping stone God has ever blessed me with & because of them I was able to complete my GED & start college courses majoring in Criminal Justice, & when I left FCS I left there with $15000 to start a new healthy life with my son, I am one semester away from starting police academy & hopefully later in life I’ll be a Homicide Detective. After I left FCS I was asked by The National Crittenton Foundation to go to Florida to tell my story along with the many other woman/girls who are or were at FCS, & that was a huge success because I met girls who walked in the same pathway that I walked on or even worse. After the first conference with The National Crittenton Foundation myself along with a few other women were chosen to be advocates to tell our journey when we once lived at FCS. I was blessed enough to share my story with many Congress Men & Women, the beautiful Gabrielle Union, & did a television segment with my lovely Crittenton Ladies who I have falling in love with & have gotten closer then ever with. The Ladies of The National Crittenton Foundation is working on a project now call B.O.L.D which means Bringing Opportunity Love & Determination.. So please be on a close lookout for a BOLD coming to a city near you. 🙂
The opportunities FCS granted my son & I are unbelievable & words alone can not express how grateful I am for them & most of all for Charles Crittenton who had a big heart to make a change for troubling girls like myself.
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