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Marquis Cabrera lived in four different foster homes until he was adopted by a loving family at age 10. His experience helped him to start Foster Skills, a nonprofit that aims to improve the state of foster care in America.
By his own admission, Cabrera was "really bad" as a child, but he didn't want to disappoint his adoring mother any longer. "When trouble knocked on my door, I turned the other way and then I just rode that into high school," he said.
Eventually he attended Northeastern University and was a part of a mentoring program that helped him to see things differently. Cabrera explained, “I thought then, if I could have one difference in one kid’s life, I could probably help many more kids.”
Cabrera researched the foster care space and found a staggering statistic. He said, "One of the statistics said 66 percent of kids who age out of the foster care system will be homeless, in jail or dead by the time they turned 19, and I thought, ‘That’s crazy.’ So in 2010 when I was a junior in college, I started Foster Skills."
Foster Skills helps kids transition out of foster care by providing support and building trust. According to Cabrera, the organization also aims to "create awareness about the issues facing the youth, advocate for policy changes and to teach youth practical life skills."
Cabrera is making a difference each and every day, and while he recognizes that he's a successful foster youth story, there are many more stories to be told. "I just hope to be one example, to [foster kids] that there’s a way outside their community, to show them that they too can beat the odds and be successful, to show them that once they beat the odds and achieve success that they, too, should pay it forward."