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In her own words, Katie “is proof that your past doesn’t limit your future”. She was a victim and survivor of domestic violence. After a police-involved incident, Katie stayed with a relative for several weeks, then moved into a friend’s home on a 24 hour emergency hold. Her friend’s parents applied to become certified foster parents and Katie became a permanent member of that family. She still goes to stay with that family during holidays and school breaks. During those years, one of her social workers stood out as helper, supporter, and guider through her transition into independent living. Katie is a young woman with many talents. She sang for ten years in her church choir. In High School she was in the gifted program, and also spent time in a program that reached out to autistic students. She played volleyball, ran track and cross-country, and is still an avid soccer player. Today Katie studies at the University of Hartford where she majors in Psychology, maintains a high GPA and is a member of three honor societies. Her goal is to earn a Doctorate in Psychology, do research, and work with children. Outside of class, she works 15-20 hours each week at Aerie. Katie also serves as secretary for the school Newman Club, where she participates in fundraising activities, retreats, and also volunteers at a nearby after school program for children. Katie says, “I have worked with children of all ages for my entire life. I know how to communicate, interact, and help the other kids that went through what I endured. I have had one-on-one interactions with troubled youth and have become a mentor for several of the kids”. She recently volunteered with Community Collaborations Inc during her Spring Break to help rebuild from the Alabama tornado disaster and volunteer at an animal shelter. Katie sums up her experience in care, “The foster care system has been a positive experience because it has given me the opportunity to thrive……without (it) I would never have been able to attend the University of Hartford, and never have the opportunities I now have because of it.”

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