Leyda spent 4.5 years in Illinois’s foster care system.

Leyda has overcome many hardships and has blossomed, especially in education and trusting others. As a young child she was the caregiver in her family and despite health conditions, many moves, and attending twelve schools, she plays an active role in her community and advocates for herself and others with similar experiences. She currently serves as a board member as the youth representative for OMNI Youth Services. Upon graduating from Adlai E. Stevenson High School this June, she plans to attend a university and graduate with a bachelor’s or master’s in psychology and social work. During her time in a university she would like to study abroad to research other countries’ social work systems. After obtaining her degree, Leyda would like to be a child therapist and use alternative therapy approaches. Leyda never wants to be restricted by a statistic. People close to her consider her a blessing in their lives.