Nineteen-year-old Angel Gardner calls Seattle home. It’s where she was born. But Angel grew up all over the Northwest, thanks to foster care moves. Too many places to recall in great detail—and even if she could, she says the memories are not good.
“When I was 5, I entered foster care,” Angel said. “When I turned 18, I had been in 28 different foster placements. So my idea of stability was very scattered.”
At 18, after foster care, Angel found herself homeless—and pregnant.
Angel credits a friend she met on the streets with helping her get her bearings with Seattle’s youth shelters, many funded by United Way’s homelessness work and our partner agencies (and what proceeds from the All-Star Softball Classic support). That friend also helping her survive until she could get a Section 8 housing voucher and an apartment, which she has now in Northgate.
Want to help a young person struggling with homelessness after so many foster care moves? Make a gift to help get someone like Angel get inside off the streets.
Another way she coped with her experiences of child abuse, all those foster care moves, and then homelessness: writing.
She writes to express her feelings, but her writing started resonating with others. A panel of writers at Seattle Arts and Lectures, unaware of Angel’s life experiences, selected her as this year’s Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. It’s a year-long appointment which includes a book deal to get her work published.
It’s a dream come true, but Angel’s dreams don’t stop there.
She wants to finish what she wasn’t able to with so many foster care moves. She wants to graduate from high school. And she’s working on it in United Way’s Reconnecting Youth program. And then?
“I definitely want to go to college. I have not had the chance to do that yet.”
What’s Your Role?
Think back on your teen years. Did you have someone who guided you? Someone in your life you could trust?
Where would you be if you didn’t? If you knew that a homeless teenager’s life would change because of your support, would you do it? That’s what the All-Star Softball Classic is all about.