Janie Gonzalez spent 7 years in Texas' Foster Care System.
Rated an “outstanding young woman and an outstanding young leader,” her nominator calls Janie Gonzalez “a great role model to her siblings who count on her for advice, suggestions, and as a home base.” Janie is acknowledged as “very caring,” and one who “appreciates help she has received from previous care workers and programs associated with foster care.” Janie had experienced four different foster homes and at age 14 had run away but returned to foster care nine months later. Her new goal was to keep her five siblings together. During her high school years, her leadership potential grew as she one numerous awards in wrestling. At present she has earned guardianship for her fifteen year old brother. Janie attempts to develop a sense of family tradition for herself and for her siblings while balancing a full-time job, part-time college, and maintaining a relationship with her partner along with a parenting role regarding her brother. Her college enrollment finds her studying Homeland Security leading to her serving in border control work. She currently works with the El Paso State and Supportive Living Center. A certified nursing assistant (CNA), Janie is also a member of the Pride Center Youth Alumni Board where she may be found assisting in fundraisers, setting up for various events, organizing the donation rooms, and participating in Pride Center Stakeholder/Partner meetings. She has been known to open her home as a temporary housing setting for homeless youth on at least five different occasions over the past two years. Because of her own foster care experience, Janie has shown herself to be a natural peer mentor who assists former foster youth who are experiencing difficulties.