With you by our side, youth in LCFS’ Regenerations program receive the love and support they need to get their lives back on the right track. Thank you for all that you do.
Sadly, there are hundreds of older foster youth in correctional and detention centers around Illinois that are past their release dates, but stay in jail because they have no place to go. LCFS’ Regenerations program gets the youth out of jail, into a caring foster home and provides support and services to help along the way.
“You learn from your mistakes, because mistakes are always made,” explained LCFS foster parent Donna Martin. “So I feel that if I can help [foster kids] correct some of their mistakes and how them some love, then maybe they can change. Because a lot of them are actually just looking for love.”
Cameron (not his real name) is a Regenerations youth that stayed in Donna’s home.
When Cameron was released from detention and came to live with Donna, he was guarded and angry. While he had made some poor choices in his past, he was still just a kid who needed someone to care about him.
Donna became that person. “He really was a good kid. If you kept him busy and gave him something positive to do, then he stayed out of trouble,” said Donna.
Together LCFS and Donna worked to give Cameron the support he needed to turn his life around. They got him back in school, so he could catch up and work toward graduating. They also helped him to find an after-school job. This kept him busy and off the streets, while showing him that he could make his own way.
LCFS provided Cameron with therapy to work through some of the traumas he experienced during his young life. They also connected Cameron with a mentor who was available to him at any time to provide guidance or just talk.
Donna helped Cameron think about his future by introducing him to new ideas and experiences. “He loved to study and read about something he didn’t know. With all my [foster] kids, I take them with me wherever I go. Some of the places I take them, they’ve never experienced before because people haven’t given them the chance to try it.”
Cameron is no longer in Donna’s home, but says they stay in contact. “He still keeps in touch …and he still calls me mom.”
Today, Cameron has dreams for his future. He wants to get his GED and hopes to go on to college where he can play football. He even told Donna that he wants to become a lawyer or social worker, so that he can help change the world.
When Donna asked him why he wanted to be a social worker, he shared that, “I think I can help kids because I was on the wrong path and now I’m on the right path, so I can show them how to get there.”