When she was 17, Destiny and her brother were removed from their home by Child Protective Services. The move was sudden and left Destiny trying to figure out what was next.
“It feels like you have no say in anything,” she said. “I felt like my life was going to be completely different in a sad way. You feel lost.”
Destiny aged out of foster care shortly after. She examined a number of options moving forward, but quickly honed in on Buckner NextStep in Dallas, a supervised independent living program that provides young women, ages 18-24, the support they need to meet their educational and independent living goals and achieve self-sufficiency.
“There’s not many programs like this,” she said. “You won’t find this anywhere else, honestly.”
Through training, coaching, personalized service coordination and opportunities for spiritual development, Destiny learned how to: build supportive relationships with others; go back to school at Eastfield College, where she is studying business; manage her finances; and take steps to embrace her God-given potential.
The experience has changed Destiny’s life. She connected with the other young ladies in the program as well as Buckner staff members to become a part of a meaningful community of women who help each other. She worked hard and laid a firm foundation that will serve as a springboard for the rest of her life.
“Destiny entered the NextStep program as a shy and immature young lady who didn’t trust others,” said Leticia Gerard, director of NextStep. “Over the past two years, she has developed into a mature and responsible young adult. The most impressive thing about Destiny is her determination, motivation and dedication to becoming an active and successful part of the community. She is determined not to be a product of her past and instead uses her past as a stepping stone for a better life.”
“I knew I was going to be more independent when I moved here,” Destiny said. “I knew they were going to be watching us and helping us. If I needed anything, I knew they would be there for us. It’s been everything I wanted and more. I feel like it’s a lifelong relationship that will last well beyond when I leave.”
Destiny is optimistic about her future. She’s considering buying a house or condominium. She’ll transfer soon to the University of Texas at Arlington, where she’ll work toward her bachelor’s degree. Each decision she makes, each step she takes brings her closer to the life she envisions.
“What motivates me is my future, being successful and having a different life than my mom,” she said. “I want to be as successful as I can to give my future children a better life.”