By Tyler Hunter

I am Kentucky born and raise – yea, I am proud of it, too. I am also proud of the life I was chosen to live. Because of my biological mother’s substance abuse in the 1990’s, I was placed in kinship care after 3 days entering this world. Throughout my childhood, I was placed with many other relatives. Eventually, at the age of 13, I was placed into the foster care system. I was scared and could not understand why I was such a bad kid!

Since then, I have learned, there is no such thing as a bad kid.

After spending my first 9 months in foster care, I was moved to a new placement. This one, back in my hometown of Bowling Green. Something was different about this placement. At the time, I could not place my finger on it. Then, all was revealed to me. This was my “forever home”!

In 2017, I put on my war clothes in the battle of advocating for young people in foster care. It has brought many challenges but also has been extremely rewarding.

I do not believe I am anything special. I live a basic life. I work, I struggle with college, working through my own trauma, and navigating my way as an adult. It is the fight that keeps me going. It is the title of “Mr. Kentucky” that keeps me going. It is the late voice of my adopted mother that keeps me going!

This fight is personal to me because I was that child that did not have parents come eat lunch with me at school. I was that child that wore the same clothes to school. Now, I am that person fighting for all my brothers and sisters in care.

I hear you, I see you, I am you……

Growing up in foster care is what makes my college experience more difficult. 😩

Like many other foster care youth and foster alumni, accountability around our education is lacking.  I mean… there were not many around us that made sure we did our homework and made grades better than average.

“Tyler, it’s just one missed assignment… just make sure you do good on the next one,” I often told myself. The truth is, once you start missing assignments, it becomes a habit!  We all know these colleges don’t play about that financial aid probation and Academic Suspension ( I know from experience!).

How do we break the habit of not holding ourselves accountable, when it comes to our educational performance?

Here are some tips that help me:

  • Write down everything in an agenda
  • Check off things when they are completed
  • Find a study group or friends who are taking similar courses
  • Eat healthy so you can think healthy
  • Learn how to say NO

Now I’m sure there are plenty of other tips. Feel free to comment below and help a brother out. If you know someone that is in college and has been in foster care, explore ways to support them. ❤️✌️