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Michelle Kobus spent 11 years in Virginia's foster care system.

Some kids just seem driven—to be contribute, to excel, to lead. For a lot of those kids, life has been full of approval and support—but not for Michelle. She is a contributor and a leader, that’s for certain: In high school, she was on the debate team, the manager of the soccer team, a member of Grassfield Step Team, captain of the chess club, and and she helped pick up trash in my community while in the Ecology club. She gave speeches for the City of Norfolk and I also gave many speeches for the City of Norfolk, and wrote for the Bethany Christian Services pamphlet. She also helped raise money to buy gifts for the children in the Barry Robinson Center, a facility designed to help at-risk youth and their families overcome emotional and behavioral difficulties, and she also put in volunteer hours at a local animal shelter. Now she wants to be a pediatric thoracic surgeon.

All of this from a young woman who says she can only remember only three of the seven homes I was said to have been placed in, and she was removed from one of her placements after the family that eventually adopted her reported abuse. It has been a long and difficult journey for Michelle, but through it all, she has kept her head up, followed her instincts as a leader, and learned to “go with the flow, accept change,” and stay focused on the future.

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