Participant has bright future thanks to program support.

Marlene stands in front of a tapestry at a Black History Month panel event.Marlene was a single mom without a high school diploma when she aged out of foster care. She utilized the Independent Living and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) resources available to set herself up for success. These tools allowed Marlene to sign a lease to her first apartment in 2019, which helped her to gain the confidence needed to obtain her HSED.

Marlene is currently enrolled at Madison College in the Early Childcare Education Program and hopes to build her parenting skills for her own daughter.

“I want things that I didn’t have growing up or that I got to see on TV. I feel that there should be more women of color in big salary-earned fields or jobs […] Right now I’m interested in teaching kids, also social work, I’m interested in doing hair, maybe becoming a paralegal, being a therapist, kind of everything.”

Marlene also advocates for change to the foster care system as a member of the Youth Advisory Council (YAC). Recently she spoke on a Black History Month youth panel, highlighting her experience as a Black youth in foster care. She continues to find motivation within herself to balance work and school.

At the 2021 WDBSCW Annual Awards Celebration, Marlene received the Aspire Award for her advancements on her path to success.

“I’ve accomplished a lot since […] getting into the foster care system generally. Had a baby, I’ve kind of been raising her on my own since she’s been here, with the help of [the Independent Living] program of course, I graduated high school [and] I got my first apartment.”

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