Shantell 19 years in California's foster care system.
Shantell has been in the foster care system since she was 2 years old. During her time in foster care, she experienced 45 different homes, 8 different group homes and 23 different schools. Despite her situation, her determination to go to college remained unwavering.
She stayed after school to get extra help from her teachers and utilized their office hours when the work was confusing. Shantell made her education her top priority; she remained consistent, knowing that the knowledge she gained was something no one could take away from her. She and two other foster alumni started a club that helps support foster youth called Connection Academic Networking Transitional Age Youth (CAN TAY). Shantell values her experience in founding CAN TAY and believes it ties closely into her future goal of founding a business that changes the foster care system. She volunteered at Community Farms, Raising a Reader and as a tutor. She describes her future plans as wanting to be “part of the process that legitimizes the experience of foster youth by paving a path that will not only build up their confidence but ignite their voice… Once all the stakeholders are involved, we will then be able to develop and implement programs that will truly transform the foster care system.” Her hard worked paid off as she persevered and was awarded Valedictorian. She plans to attend and graduate from a four-year university.
Shantell says: “I give back because I know how it feels to have nothing!”