From Uncertain to unstoppable: Angie’s story

by Rachel Trujillo, JIT Staff

Angie was placed into the foster care system at 16, first in a placement with five siblings, but due to abuse, they were separated into different foster homes. Angie describes her relationship with her siblings as being very close, so the separation was very difficult for her; she was constantly worrying about them and simultaneously coping with depression and anxiety. Her teenage years were full of uncertainty and instability, wrestling with her identity, the contradicting relationships in her life, and generally trying to figure things out.

When she turned 18, Angie decided to enroll in North Carolina’s version of extended foster care, where she could remain under care until age 21. “I thought it would be a good idea to sign myself back in,” she shared, adding “Foster care was the most stability I ever had,” despite the uncertainties. “I wanted to find caregivers who really wanted to care for me for the long-term, not something conditional.”

However, she ended up with a foster parent who was unable to provide unconditional love and encouraged an unhealthy lifestyle. Angie decided to report an unsafe situation to a case manager. Unfortunately, her foster parent yelled and threatened Angie, and then made false accusations about her. The very next day, Angie received a seven-day notice informing her she was getting kicked out of her foster home and out of foster care. Panicked, Angie found herself alone and unsure of her next move.

But Angie is resilient and resourceful. She began finding her voice after being silenced by the system for so long. She started a virtual coaching business and was able to save for a room. What followed was an adventure in advocacy for youth in foster care, low-income families, and families of color. She has since sat on committees where she advised congress members, served as a councilwoman, and has spoken out on federal issues and influenced new legislation. As she traveled the U.S., she began getting booked for speaking engagements, was part of a touring art gallery about foster care, and had several internships.

She also met her now-husband, a Marine, and has found a new home in San Diego. “I moved here and wanted to connect with former foster youth and organizations that are doing amazing work – I needed a community out here where I could be supported and can support others,” shared Angie. Angie found Just in Time for Foster Youth and has engaged in several services including My First Home, Basic Needs, Pathways to Financial Power, Financial Fitness, Rise to Resilience, and Career Horizons. One service she calls “life-changing” is Changing Lanes, where she finally achieved a major milestone she had been chasing since she was 15: getting her driver’s license! “I cried the day I got my driver’s license,” she said. “It’s something people think is trivial. But the JIT community really helped me with accountability – just enough that I needed. The element of someone else caring was also amazing.”

Angie is not slowing down now! She’s exploring her purpose and continuing to give back to the community. She has now written and self-published a book called The Black Foster Youth Handbook: 50+ Lessons I Learned to Successfully Age Out of Foster Care & Holistically Heal. It became a best-seller and earned her an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Literary Work. She also launched Soulful Liberation, which started as a podcast and has evolved into a global platform to support youth and young adults who have experienced foster care and childhood trauma. In addition, she started holistic coaching for purpose-lead entrepreneurs and is planning a fast-track course to help others get published. Recently, she also connected with two mentors through JIT’s Career Horizons service. “They are amazing. They want to know how they can support me and how they can love me. I’ve never had that as clear and consistent. I’m so grateful,” Angie said.

Angie has big aspirations and we look forward to continuing to be a community she can rely on throughout her life journey. “I want to positively impact 100 million people,” she confidently said. “That’s one of the legacies I want to leave – stand in purpose, break generational patterns, and truly heal. With my books and coaching it all funnels to the same type of things – live with purpose, holistically heal, connect and give back to your community, leave a legacy you’re proud of.”