Chance liked school, and excelled at it, from an early age. After entering foster care at the age of six, Chance cycled through seven different foster homes, which meant seven different schools yet he found school to be a place of stability.
“School was one constant I had in life at that time,” Chance says. “Everything else that was going on around me, I couldn’t control but my education was something I always could control because whichever school I went to, it was just me and the effort I put in.”
His drive and focus reaped many rewards for Chance, from academic honors in elementary school to admission to the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated in June with a degree in sociology.
When he turned 18—in the days before AB12 extended foster care—it was up to Chance “to find a place to go.” B:E Host Housing provided him with a stable home while he attended Laney College, even playing on the football team, before transferring to UC Berkeley.
It was pretty cool working with BE. It gave me a sense of something stable, and I really needed that in my life at the time. –Chance Tarver, 24
Shante Spears, B:E Housing Division Manager, suggested Chance apply to the Family Unification Program (FUP), which enabled him to rent an apartment in Oakland while finishing up at Cal.
“I admire his determination, his strong work ethic, and drive,” says Spears. “It is such a pleasure witnessing Chance step into his full brilliance.”
Chance says B:E’s book money program was invaluable while he was in college, especially since he always qualified for the highest level, thanks to his stellar GPA. “Not having any parents there for me to be that cushion, I used the B:E money to survive. I also got BART cards from B:E so I was able to get by without having to worry ‘how am I going to do this, how am I going to do that.’”
Asked what advice he would have for other young people who are experiencing foster care, Chance says he would tell them: “Never mind the statistics. Change the statistics. Be eager to learn. Take advantage of all the opportunities in front of you.”
Working now as a support engineer at a software company, Chance plans eventually to go to graduate school and start a nonprofit serving foster youth.
In the meantime, he spends plenty of time doting on his infant son. “Little Chance. He’s amazing. He’s beautiful. He’s more than I could’ve asked for.”