SAN ANTONIO — Thousands of Texas children and teens are cared for by foster families, homes and programs. But the challenges don't end when they're done with grade school.
"(I found myself thinking,) 'I’m legally an adult,'" Michelle Calleros said. "I didn’t have a car, I was back and forth between places; it’s not that I didn’t want to go to high school, it’s that I didn’t have my social security card, ID, birth certificate."
Callero's journey from that point to now – studying international business management at Texas A&M San Antonio, working in the Student Success Center and helping current foster youth – meant a lot of hard work. Without stable support, she wasn't sure how to start planning for her future.
"When I was turning 17, I had no clue," Calleros said. "I didn’t think I was even going to make it to college or even graduate high school. So when I was younger I thought, I don’t know what I want to do, and I don’t know how to get there if I do find something. My case worker- a great lady- she’s helped me out with a lot, gone with me, helped me apply for college, and figure out what paperwork I need to go to college, get what I need- but not everybody has that person."
She says everyone can step up to be "that person" by helping teens and young adults at school, work or on college campuses. She suggests going the extra step to offer help or answer questions.
Another way anyone can help: by donating new or gently used luggage, backpacks or suitcases to the Children's Shelter, where Anais Biera Miracle says they'll make a big difference.
"They've experienced trauma due to abuse or neglect and to be able to have that level of dignity when they leave- the backpacks, rolling bags, can make a big difference," Biera Miracle said.
To learn more about ways to help, or to contact the Children's Shelter about dropping off a donation, click here.