LYNCHBURG, Va. – Tiler McFadden was weeks away from his 18th birthday when he was placed into foster care.
“It’s hard to say that it was a blessing to be in foster care, but it was,” said McFadden.
Rather than spilling back out of the system, he turned to Impact Living Services, a Lynchburg nonprofit that helps young adults transition out of foster care.
“Youth who age out have really rough statistics,” explained Mission Advancement Officer Maria Rolf.
It’s why they give kids ages 17-21 the tools they need to succeed, including a home, a grocery stipend and mentors, like Rolf.
“When they turn 18, the vast majority of them end up either homeless, incarcerated, most of them are unemployed by the time they are 24,” explained Rolf.
She added that foster care children who leave the system are extremely vulnerable, which is what makes McFadden’s story unlike the rest.
“Tiller took advantage of the program in the best ways possible,” said Rolf.
Within three years, McFadden became the first person in his family to graduate both high school and college and find a good job. Not only was he ready to move on from the program, he was also ready to buy his own house, something that’s never been done before.
“If I wasn’t willing to push myself, it wasn’t going to happen. It’s a mindset of pushing yourself and knowing that because of it, things will work out,” explained McFadden.
Impact is looking for volunteer mentors about to make a year-long commitment to work with kids like McFadden.