Adapted from The Vancouver Sun
Bayleigh Marie lived in foster care all her life. She lived in 10 different foster homes. She lived in three group homes.
“When I turned 19, they gave me the boot,” said Marie. “They said I was grown up. Now go face the world on your own.”
Marie got help from Aunt Leah’s Place.
Aunt Leah’s is a not-for-profit organization. They help prepare foster youth to live on their own. They run a Link program to help them.
“In my life, I really could have used that extra time to get on my feet, find a stable place and a stable job,” Marie said. “I could have really used it.”
Marie is now 21 years old. She rents a basement suite.
She is studying to finish grade 12. She works part time at Aunt Leah’s Place Thrift Store. She is learning the retail business.
She wants to become a paramedic and then a nurse.
“I don’t have any money coming from my family. Everything I’ve ever had in my life, I’ve had to earn myself. It can be hard at times,” Marie said.
“I’ve got some big goals ahead of me, and I’m slowly achieving them,” Marie said.
What is the Link program?
Aunt Leah’s Place runs a Link program. Link programs are part of the Youth Employment Strategy. The Government of Canada pays for the program. The programs help youth leaving foster care.
They give youth:
• a transition worker
• pre-employment training
• emergency food and clothing
• help finding a job
• help getting back to school
• life-skills training