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Triana Santiago spent 7 years in New York's Foster Care System

High school student Triana Santiago is proud to be a foster youth who is actively involved and making a difference in her community. As an active member of her local youth board, Youth In Progress, she leads forums at her regions Speak Outs, as well as a court forum in Monroe County. Over the past few years, she has often worked with her mother in childcare, helping with the kids, cooking for them and playing with them. She volunteers with the children's ministry at her church, as well as the Media Department.

Triana has earned an exceptional reputation for her work at a local hospice center, which she volunteers for through her school. As a volunteer, Triana regularly visits residents on comfort care, socializes with them, and offers to help with various tasks they are no longer able to complete independently. Triana’s teacher and hospice supervisor writes, “It takes a great deal of compassion, composure, confidence and courage to work with folks at end-of-life.

Triana has all those attributes, as well as a heart larger than New York.” Triana enjoys her volunteer work and feels grateful for the many opportunities she has had. “Being involved and working hands on with people in our community has given me patience,” says Triana. “At the same time, leading forums has taught me how to speak to different crowds of people.” Triana spent 7 years in foster care, starting when she was in 5th grade. The transition was originally very difficult for her.

She writes; “I attend a private school, and it is hard when you don't want the kids to know you’re in foster care. It’s like living a secret life.” Despite the initial challenges, Triana has adjusted beautifully and loves her life with her current foster family and sisters. She is especially grateful for her foster family’s offer to let her stay with them until she finishes college and gets settled on her own two feet.

When she isn’t at school or volunteering, Triana likes to involve herself in school and explore her other interests and hobbies. She loves sports, especially soccer, softball, swimming and cheerleading. This year she made her school’s Varsity Tennis team. Outside of sports, Triana enjoys theater and has acted in four school productions.

She describes herself as “a science nerd” and devotes a lot of her time to her AP Physics class, an undeniably challenging course! In the summer, she loves to go for walks with her camera and take pictures of nature. She also likes shopping, of course! But best of all, Triana says she likes spending time with her foster family and her sisters, all seven of them.