Ernesto Olivares spent 5 years in Texas's foster care system

Ernesto Olivares has been through a lot. So far, life hasn’t treated him quite as he might have hoped. He spent five years in foster care, first in a group home that didn’t work out for him, but then in with a loving family that believed in him and challenged him to make the most of his life. He loved that family, and believes they made him the man he is today—and he hopes to pass on that love and belief to other foster youth. Ernesto believes that “Foster youth are the bravest and strongest people I have ever met”—so anything he can do to give back to the foster youth community, he does. He feels that young adults who have the opportunity to help the foster care system should “because the opportunity is truly one of a kind.

It's satisfying to know that you have the ability and power to make a difference.” He volunteers with a local Youth Alumni Initiating Advocacy group in San Antonio, has done several public speaking gigs for BCFS Health and Human Services, also in San Antonio, has done volunteer work for PAL (Preparation for Adult Living) including the Independence Day Event at the University of Texas-San Antonio. In Ernesto’s own words, “My love for volunteer work is really unconditional. I love doing so much for foster youth and my alumni. The opportunity is truly one of a kind. The biggest benefit of doing something that makes a good change is that you are now benefitting someone in care that you may or may not know.” Ernesto plans on working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work so that he can continue serving and inspiring other youth with backgrounds similar to his—so that they can have the optimism and opportunities that he has had.