Several weeks ago, I spoke to a very special group of young people. The event, The Celebration of Dreams, marked the graduation of 35 Hamilton County foster kids from either high school, or a GED program.
Surrounded by friends, foster parents, and other family members and supporters, these young people celebrated this great accomplishment together. And I was thrilled to celebrate with them.
As I explained to them, they have already shown that they have what it takes to succeed. Sadly, they were in foster care because of past family difficulties not of their own making. They have seen ups and downs, and faced more obstacles than most people might face in a lifetime. Yet despite these challenges, these young people still made it to a place that too many others will not--high school graduation. They beat the odds, and they defiantly said no to the prospect of letting tough circumstances hold them back. I assured them that if they show the same individual persistence, drive and strong character going forward that got them to this exciting moment of graduation, they will succeed.
Their next step? Colleges and trade schools that will allow them to seize the opportunities that exist in our community and beyond. And I hope and trust that as they follow these paths forward, we will all continue to help and support them. I can tell you that we at the County are working to find ways to assist and sustain these young people as they make this transition into their adult lives.
Most important, amid news of trouble and tough times we all read about every day, the Celebration of Dreams is a great reminder. A reminder that the investments we make in our young people, the compassion our community shows to those in need, and the hard work of our public servants to help revive crumbling lives, can make such a difference, one dream at a time.