Beyond Emancipation

Leslie: Creating a bright future for herself and her community

At 24, Leslie has already started a career devoted to helping others and is on track to achieve her goals. Leslie just graduated from Laney College with two associate degrees and plans to transfer to Cal State East Bay to pursue her degree in social work. She also just earned one of B:E’s scholarships.

“Since I was a kid, I always saw myself having a career where I help people from lower income communities,” shares Leslie. “I would like to remain working within the Bay Area for communities that I grew up in.”

Right now, Leslie maintains two jobs to support these communities. She is a resident advocate at a domestic violence shelter and has also been supporting other foster youth for years as a peer advisor at Laney.

“I’ve discovered my passion for helping foster care youth,” says Leslie. “Being the program’s peer advisor gives me the opportunity to help students through their college journey.”

Leslie wants to make sure that youth have the support they need. “I’d like to provide the help I didn’t get when I was younger,” says Leslie. When I first entered foster care at 16, I felt alone and I got really depressed. I felt like I had to fend for myself.”

When Leslie came to B:E in her last year of high school, she was amazed by all the resources. “I was surprised to experience that amount of love and support” Leslie remembers. It gave me hope to see all the services B:E offered— almost everything you could name, and if they didn’t have it they could refer you.”

B:E has helped Leslie with everything from book money and tutoring to applying for financial aid and selecting her classes. “I’m grateful for B:E,” Leslie says. “The coaching alone is really helpful, and I feel like they are always available and welcoming to me.”

Leslie is well on her way to helping others receive the life- changing hope and support she found at B:E.