Life can be traumatic for a child aging out of foster care. In Wisconsin the age is 18. Often teens are sent into the world with nothing, but an effort is underway to prevent that.
Owen's Place in Milwaukee was packed with items to give those forced out of foster care a fresh start on Thursday. They were going to teens forced out of foster care.
Adults were given kits filled with necessities to kick start life away from foster families. Young adults got everything from beds to bedding and kitchen utensils. Kits are worth about $500 a piece and were paid for by an anonymous donor.
Many 18-year-olds lack life skills after having spent a lifetime moving from place to place.
"When I aged out of the foster care system I did not know how to turn on the heat in my first apartment," said Jameelah Love.
About 200 youth age out of foster care in Milwaukee every year. Often foster youth face deep trauma. Alisha Fox was sexually abused by her own father.
"Ten years of sexual abuse and rape by my father that was taken care of by the courts and his rights have been stripped away," she said.
28-year-old Jameelah Love spent her childhood bouncing from home to home. When she aged out of foster care, she found herself homeless an depressed.
"I don't like feeling like a burden," said Love. "When I was in foster care I felt like a complete burden to everyone around me."
Both Love and Fox found support at SaintA, a human services agency in Milwaukee.
"I wasn't alone," said Love. "There was people out there who related to me who understood."
"It does get better," said Fox."Know when you're sitting there and you're depressed there is help."
Today both ladies are SaintA employees. They fight to remove barriers for other tees sharing lessons of hope.