“I lost my last foster family after attempting suicide.” – Sherry Viloria

 

“I spent seven years in foster care. It’s hard growing up living with different families. When I was 17, I was placed with a good foster family that I actually connected with. But it was just another temporary home. I was told I could only stay with them for three months before ‘aging out’ at 18. After that, I would have to move into a group home. I was devastated and couldn’t concentrate on school. I felt alone. It pushed me to a dark place and I attempted suicide. When I was in the hospital, I was told that I lost my family because of my mental health and what I’d done. This was my fault? It’s the system that’s broken. I turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with my depression. I know I shouldn’t have and I’ve been working hard to better my life now. I’ve found healing in helping others. I feel good when I volunteer and contribute. I’ve shared my story many times to create awareness about the system and be an advocate for the changes that are needed. The support and response I’ve received has been incredible. People have reached out to me offering help and support in all ways. I’ve been clean of hard drugs for nearly two years now, but I still struggle with alcohol. I’m working towards it, everyday gets a little better. I’ve found myself a job and I volunteer as an advocate, as a voice for others in the system. There’s a project that we’ve started called 25 not 21. It’s to increase the age for care and support to 25 because many of us, at 21, are not ready to support ourselves, especially those of us who have grown up with abuse and trauma. I hold on to the support I get and work to make a difference for others who are in similar situations. The first step is to have a conversation.”

 

Photo Credits:
Worn Star Media