Student inspires foster-care youth with uplifting personal story

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Veronica Felix, a junior criminal justice major, spoke to a panel about her experiences being in foster care and overcoming adversity. Photo courtesy of Veronica Felix

Ten years after she was adopted from foster care, Veronica Felix finally spoke with her biological mother last November. During the visit, she received photos of her missing childhood memories, her birth certificate and experienced her biological mother wanting nothing to do with her.

“The age of 10 was when I was first taken away,” Felix said. “It was different. I was put into a foster home where there were not any children at the time.”

After overcoming her struggles with adoption and transitioning into college, the senior criminal justice major shared her story with other students in foster care through the Promoting Achievement Through Hope (PATH) Scholars Program.

The program allows students to participate in workshops at community colleges with students who grew up in or are still in foster care. One of the goals is to help students who have a history with foster care transition smoothly from a community college to a four-year university.

“Through financial aid there is an option to choose if one has ever been in foster care,” Felix said. “Marina Fox (coordinator for the Foster Youth Program) makes a list of all the students who check that box and reaches out to them. She was like another angel that came out of heaven. It gave me hope.”

Fortunately, when Felix entered foster care, she was not separated from her brothers. Her foster mother did her best to keep them in the same home, she said. At age 10, Felix understood what happened with her family and why it was important for her to leave.

“Someone had given me a second opportunity at life,” Felix said.

At 16, Felix was officially adopted along with her biological brothers. Even though she was happy to take advantage of the hope that was given to her from the adoption, her brothers were a little hesitant.

“They were still really attached to their old family,” Felix said.

Growing up in the foster care system during her teenage years made Felix hide her situation from her friends. She did not feel comfortable telling people until she started school at Chico State, she said.

“I never thought I would go to college,” Felix said. “My expectations were low.”

However, after joining the PATH Scholars Program, Felix became more comfortable sharing her story with other students. On May 1, the program hosted an event in which six scholars, including Felix, shared their stories about how they achieved their goal of going to college.

“It was a rewarding feeling,” Felix said. “No one has any idea or perspective of what one goes through until you hear their story.”

DJ Morris can be reached at [email protected] or @djthejournalist on Twitter.