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Ariel Lopez has made something good of her troubling experiences in foster care. She has risen above her negative experiences by not allowing them to destroy her dreams, and by learning to take control of what she could. In hindsight, she now views foster care as a positive experience which has made her better, increased her gratitude toward those who loved her, and given her the desire to help other foster youth succeed.

Ariel is an active volunteer and leader in her community. Her experiences include: Accessing Careers through Education Program, being an alter server for St. Patrick’s Community Church, assisting the Fremont Elementary School Library, babysitting, high school fundraising activities, class president, prom committee assistant, varsity cheer captain, varsity softball, Advancement Via Individual Determination, Drama Club, Go Green Club, and Guardian Scholars Program. Ariel helps other foster youth overcome feelings of low self-esteem that she experienced, and helps them realize that, although things are very bad, “it is not the end of the world.”

She shares her ability to take negative events and turn them around to see that they actually help in the long run. Through the Guardian Scholars Program, Ariel has participated in workshops and formed close bonds with foster youth in elementary and high schools, encouraging them to overcome difficulties and succeed. Ariel aspires to continue her work with foster youth by graduating from U. C. Davis with a degree in Sociology and an emphasis in social work.

After graduation, she plans to continue her education in law school to become a family lawyer to help foster youth. Ariel’s love and dedication for children is best expressed in her own words: “Therefore, I know when it is my time to be a foster parent I will be a great, loving, and caring one, not only because I know what the children are going through, but because I have learned to look at a negative situation and turned it into a positive one.”

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