Beyond Emancipation

Ty: Achieving College Success

“I knew education was my ticket,” shares 19 year-old Ty. 

Ty is currently a freshman at UC Santa Barbara, where he is taking general education requirements like intro to engineering and finding creative ways to share his love of sneakers. 

“I’d like to study business and prepare for opening up my own sneaker store,” Ty says, “and I’m where I need to be to learn, make connections, and prepare for a future that doesn’t look like my past.” 

Ty’s mother struggled to support Ty and his twin brother, living in their car in between living on the streets for much of his childhood. When they did have an apartment, Ty remembers coming home from school to nothing, no food in the fridge and just a pile of bills. 

“I want more for myself,” Ty says, “my mama did the best she could for us, but I have the opportunity to change my background.” 

When Ty entered foster care at age 15, he was placed in a group home and started receiving support from B:E and Independent Living Program staff. 

“Everyone saw me for who I am and who I can be,” Ty remembers, “they helped me grace my fall and lift me back up to the sky.” 

Though Ty started the school year late and didn’t have any of his own belongings, he remained focused, managed this difficult transition, and got all A’s that semester. Motivated to take care of his grades and to make the most of his fresh start, Ty graduated high school with a 4.2 GPA and in the top 10 of his class. 

B:E was my college preparer,” Ty explains, “while other people have tax preparers, I had a college preparer who helped me with my applications, took me on tours, connected me with UC alum, and helped me make the decision about where to go for college.” 

More than the college preparation though, Ty adds that staff also coached him through what he was feeling about his past and his family. 

“A lot of people don’t want to go through their emotions, and they become a roadblock,” Ty says, “but B:E helped me step back, reflect, and label my emotions. Now I can sit down and understand my feelings. It’s part of my self-care.” 

Now, on a white board in his dorm room, Ty writes a list of his goals, priorities, and self-care routines.

“I’ve learned to ask myself what I can do where I am to prosper now,” shares Ty. It’s clear that Ty is making the most of the opportunities he has to better himself and to prepare for his bright future.