Beyond Emancipation

Tai: Realizing Her Own Potential to Help Others Realize Theirs

Listening to Tai talk about her career plans, you’d think she’d been focusing on them for years, despite being only 21. Yet although she’s known what she wants to do for a living since she was a teen, before Tai came to B:E eight months ago, worrying about how she would pay rent in her expensive hometown of Oakland was her main concern.

“B:E really helps me not stress about rent,” says Tai, “so I can focus on my goals and where I’m trying to get in life.”

A B:E Host Housing client, Tai attends Laney College while holding down a job in sales at a gym. When she’s not in class or on the job, she’s working on her “ultimate goal to open a life coaching and public speaking business.”

Tai developed her passion for helping others realize their own potential in high school when she participated in the Gay Straight Alliance Network, a national youth leadership organization.

“Every teenager wants to feel like they belong,” says Tai. “And often LGBTQ youth are made to feel they don’t belong. I want to encourage other LGBTQ youth to own their identify, embrace it, never feel they’re any less capable than someone else.”

From her own struggles in high school, Tai says she learned how to see challenges as opportunities. “Even though there are times you’re by yourself and you’re going through stuff and it feels overwhelming,” she says, “you have to remind yourself that the things you go through will help you later in your life. You’re building a muscle, a strength to be able to push through even larger obstacles in the future.”

With B:E’s support, Tai is laying the groundwork for a career she is really excited about. She plans to host seminars and produce podcasts as well as doing public speaking. “The first time I got off the stage after doing a public speaking event,” Tai says, “and people came up to tell me how much what I said had helped them, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

B:E is helping Tai achieve her definition of success, which she describes as “Knowing what your passion is and how you want to use that in your career, and taking steps every day to make that a reality.”

She appreciates all of the resources B:E provides, like the savings account she will be able to access when she leaves Host Housing. Just as important, says Tai, is the mentoring B:E provides.

“Coming from foster care, youth may or may not have someone who can guide them in a direction that will take them further in life,” she says. “B:E can be that place where you can get answers to questions you might not even know you have.”

Please donate now and support foster youth like Ty reach their dreams.