Karissa entered her first foster home at 14 years old. She persevered through several challenges but eventually steered herself towards a more positive path. Karissa says, "I had a hard struggle being completely on my own, with a little help from friends time to time, but that only lasts so long." She is now poised to move into her own apartment and plans to attend college. Karissa is heavily involved in the CAASP Stars Program, through which she has been able to participate in and be a leader at events and planning sessions. Karissa was also the lead organizer of the National Endowment for the Arts - The Big Read event. In her spare time Karissa enjoys dancing, listening to music, exploring her mind, writing, thinking up fun activities to share with other people, reading herself into another world, watching movies, and being with friends.