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Kyle V checks out the situation, thinks about options, makes a decision, then springs into action. He’s not attracted to joining organizations just for the membership, but when Kyle sees a need, he jumps in. When there’s a call to help out a member of his church, Kyle’s ready to serve in any way he can. When his town of Joplin Misssouri endured a devastating tornado in 2011, Kyle pitched in to help set up a warehouse for local schools and deliver needed school supplies. He also volunteered for debris cleanup in the community and around the schools after the storm. When Kyle heard about an opportunity to talk to 80 county foster parents, he volunteered for the chance to communicate his insight as a youth in care. The event was the annual Christmas dinner, and Kyle’s contribution was met with appreciation and compliments on an excellent job. More important to Kyle, though, was helping break the negative stereotype sometimes associated with youth in foster care and communicating a much more positive image. He told his story. When he was 15, he made a very adult and difficult decision for his and his brother’s futures. He wanted more for their lives than the path his biological family was perusing. He loves and cares for his biological family and did not want to play the “victim role”, but longed for a chance to progress further in life than his family provided. He requested placement into the foster care system and was placed in a kinship home. He has thrived in his foster home, has enthusiasm for what it has offered him, and is determined to stay in care to achieve his goals which include college and the study of medicine or political science. He has been employed by J.C. Penny for about two years. Kyle makes excellent grades and ranks high in his class of about 500, takes college prep classes, and is popular among his peers and faculty on campus. In 2011, he was one of six outstanding leaders selected by the counselors at his school to attend Missouri Boy’s State.

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