Youth finds potential, gives back to community.

Ray was placed into care as a toddler, along with his older sister because they were living in an unsafe home. Unfortunately, his first foster home was not much better, and after a short-term living arrangement with his grandmother, Ray was placed into the Marymound Treatment Foster Care program when he was three-years-old.

He faced many challenges through his first family and after nearly 10 years, his trust and anxiety issues still remained. It wasn’t until his third family that Ray would begin to realize his full potential.

Through a culturally-appropriate and nurturing family, he began to trust again and feel safe to speak his mind and become optimistic about his future. Initially, Ray was treated as if he had ADHD related challenges, but with his third family, demonstrated that he functioned above his peers and wanted to accomplish many goals.

Ray feels very fortunate to have his current foster parents. “They motivated me to help me reach my potential, while accepting me for who I am,” says Ray. His foster parents always reassured him that he is part of the family– now and in the future.

While in high school, Ray volunteered at the YMCA and Manitoba Children’s Museum. He graduated with above average grades, and went on to complete an electrical trades program and obtain a Level 1 Apprentice designation.

But Ray’s learning didn’t end there. He recently began a journey to learn about his cultural heritage (something he had no interest in a few years ago­) and this led him to alter his path to explore his true passion: helping his community. Poverty issues, politics, working with children in care, and community development consumed him.

He volunteered with the West Broadway Neighbourhood Association in July 2017, helping with community gardens while learning and growing from the experiences of other workers. The following month, he began volunteering for a political party citing their views of helping children in care as reasons for his support.

Ray entered the University of Winnipeg this September and remains motivated to pursue his passions. He also has a great capacity for learning and discussing policy responses to social issues, particularly those impacting children in care and marginalized young people. Ray has read books on sociology and other related fields to help him get a better understanding of the field in advance of his studies.

When not volunteering, Ray has always had a part-time job. He currently works at a major grocery store where he received a modest promotion. He has shown great resilience to overcome the obstacles of his early childhood neglect through learning to work hard and rely on his sister and foster parents for support.

Ray is mature beyond his years and takes a great interest in discussing people, society, his experience in care, and how he thinks the world could be improved. He is very interested in learning new ideas and has a ‘dream board’ of hope to help clarify what he wants in the future.

He is very introspective and reflects on his difficult past experiences and traumas, trying not to be angry because he wants to ‘move past it’ while at other times, he wants help to work through his challenges.

The goal of Marymound’s Treatment Foster Care is not making placements, but rather, it’s about helping children like Ray find nurturing, ‘forever’ families and a sense of belonging.