Life Taught Me, My Students Need The Same Love and Care I Received

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Although I am currently a resident of Montgomery, Alabama, I was once a ward of New
York State. I entered the Foster Care system at the age of 14. I belonged the state of New York
until the age of 21. I, along with my older sister, had no other alternative due to our harsh and
uncomfortable circumstances. My mother, who started using drugs at the tender age of 19,
struggled with her crack addiction for many years. For as long as I can remember, she has been
off and on drugs my entire life. I lived with my grandmother from the ages of 4 to 13 as a result
of my mother’s inability to take care of me. When I was 13 and my sister 14, we were sent to
live with my mother upon her request. Shortly after we moved to New York, she started using
drugs again. She became physically abusive which resulted in our placement into the system.
Both my sister and I went to different places and never returned to my mother until we
aged out of care. I wish I could tell you that the system failed me, and I hated the experience. My
experience was quite the opposite. I was affirmed, cared for, encouraged to finish high school
and go off to college. I attended teen meetings where I learned life skills, received adequate
counseling, learned how to save money, visited several colleges, and applied for scholarships. As
a result, I finished high school and received several scholarships to attend Tuskegee University.
My experience in the Foster care system in New York City was absolutely amazing! I came in
contact with social workers who loved me to life! I was not treated like a burden or statistic. I
was treated with great respect and dignity, and I believed I could rise above my circumstances as
a result of their tender love and care. I am forever grateful for my time in Foster Care, but I am
overly thankful for dedicated, loving, and committed social workers. With that same love and
care, I work in the public school system as an English Language Arts teacher here in
Montgomery. Although teaching is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life, it is the
best thing for me because I understand that my students need the same love and care I received.


  1. I enjoyed reading this Chaquana! Knowing, personally, all the things you've overcome in life and the will you've always had to be the best person you can be spiritually, physically and emotionally, has always been an inspiration to me! Goooo friend!

  2. This is Great! - Miles (Skegee)


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