When it comes to living through the grim statistics that face youth who age out of care, Akeeme has most of them covered. Two weeks before aging out, his plans for housing fell though. So he had to scramble for a place to live. The result was homelessness and couch surfing, spotty employment and his college education put on hold.
But still, Akeeme landed on his feet.
Akeeme is smart, articulate, kind and engaged in his community. He had friends to turn to and independently sought out support resources. He found Project Everlast and Branching Out, and with those support networks, he overcame what could have been catastrophic setbacks to build the foundations of a life.
Akeeme has an apartment now, and he works for UPS. He’s preparing to go back to college this fall for psychology. In his work with Project Everlast, he took time to speak with state senators about extending supports to other youth who will age out before him, so they will land on their feet without the homelessness, joblessness and fear he had to go through. His opinion piece in the Omaha World Herald speaks volumes of his commitment to help others.
Despite his past, Akeeme doesn’t shy away from responsibility.
He has two younger brothers in foster care now, and is preparing to take them in when they age out. Through his teenage years, Akeeme has acted as a stabilizing influence on these boys, and he plans to help support them so they can transition to adulthood.
Youth like Akeeme are resilient when they have support.
Every young person needs support. Akeeme is an example of support and character coming together to overcome experiences that some may consider crippling. What happens to youth who don’t get this support? Resilience isn’t a given. And it stands a better chance when a caring community is helping to guide youth who need it and provide a foundation for future success.
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