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Paying it backward and forward

Former foster child gives back to her community

Rishun Beasley spends her days looking for something she’s already found. It’s a search that drives her every morning and one she knows will never end.

It started more than 20 years ago at Buckner, where she found a solution and where she decided she’d spend her life helping other children find it, too. So, every morning, she answers her alarm clock, wakes up her five children and heads out the door, dropping them off at day care and school before starting her search.

Once a foster child, now helping others like her

Rishun, who grew up as a Buckner foster child, turns her car toward her office at Child Protective Services, where she spends her days searching for permanent solutions for children in the system – children like she was. She works as a permanent managing conservator with CPS.

“I’m trying to find permanency for them,” she said. “Whether that’s a relative or whether that’s adoption.”

Life experiences led her to a career path in CPS

As a child, Rishun and her three siblings experienced foster care and were eventually placed with a relative in kinship care who took custody of the children. It was that very personal experience that led her to a career with CPS.

“I have to say that going through CPS as a kid led me to feel that I wanted to give back and just lend a helping hand. I want to provide for these kids some type of support while they’re in CPS,” she said.

Her goal is to provide children with the same love she remembers receiving from Buckner staff while she was in foster care.

“They were so caring and understanding,” she said. “My experience in CPS was not as bad because Buckner was really, really devoted to making sure that us kids were OK and had what we needed. I’m working with children whose parents’ rights have been terminated and I’m just trying to find permanency for them so they don’t have to age out of foster care, which is very challenging,” she continued.

Teaches life lesson to never give up

She is just as determined to provide her children everything they need, too. Rishun is intent on giving her four sons and daughter a “better life. I want to show them how to grow up so they go off to college and seek that additional education past high school.”

And while she is intent on meeting her children’s basic needs, Rishun is also making sure “they know how to transition from being taken care of to taking care of themselves and being able to be successful adults and know how to survive.”

And, she added, she wants them to know that someday the roles will change. “I’m going to need them to take care of me, so I want to teach them how,” she said.

But an even more important lesson she’s passing on is to never give up, “no matter what life throws at you. You just keep trucking, you keep pushing, you keep jumping over hurdles and working your way through obstacles.

“When stuff gets hard and it feel like it’s not working, you just have to believe,” she added, echoing advice she learned from others. “Just don’t give up. No matter how tough things look – and I go through a lot. I mean, when it rains, it pours on me and it can get really heavy. But I still have to get up in the morning. I still have people depending on me.”

Recognizing the need for self-care

Growing up with Buckner, she learned the value of “self-care,” she said, something she still does every day, including keeping a journal of her thoughts. Buckner has also provided therapy for Rishun this past year when she said her life “almost crumbled right in front of me.”

That help came through a friendship she struck up two years ago with Keri Pettis, manager/director of the Buckner Family Hope Center located at the Texas Rangers MLB Academy in West Dallas. Rishun said she contacted Pettis wanting to get involved with activities for children at the Family Hope Center.

“Miss Keri has just been phenomenal,” she said. “She is an amazing person to have in my crazy life. She’s right there for for me, and Buckner has provided just anything I’ve needed.”

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic when grocery items were in short supply, Rishun and her kids received help from the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid.

Along with participating in programs at the Family Hope Center with her children, Rishun also volunteers to help out. She also went through the center’s parenting nurturing program.

“Rishun is very resilient and she is committed to her role as a mother and isn’t new to making sacrifices to make sure her family doesn’t go without,” Pettis said. “She has a loving personality and is always looking for ways to serve others.”

Pettis described her as “extremely intelligent” and someone “who doesn’t give herself the grace and recognition she deserves for all that she has accomplished.”

Life will have challenges, but you must always 'push forward'

Rishun knows every day has its challenges, but she wants the foster children she serves and her own children to “push forward,” advice she takes personally for her own future. Pushing forward for her looks like becoming a licensed social worker and some day owning a children’s therapy program, “especially for foster children. I also want to have my own foster home and become a child placing agency.”

“I always push forward,” she said. “That’s why I work with foster care kids. It really is something that I would do for free. I really love helping the system that helped me.”

Learn more about how you can help vulnerable families in your community. 

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