As foster care social worker and therapist Yvonne Amarh (pictured above) prepared for the holiday season, she reflected on the past year and wanted to share her meaningful memories she has with the ones who help make her work possible — each and every one of you.
This past year, there was a sharp rise in mental health care needs as youth grappled with changes, isolation, loss, and other pandemic hardship. That made your support of Yvonne’s work more critical than ever before.
When Yvonne received a call that a 16-year-old client was arrested and admitted to the ER to detox from drug use, she immediately rushed to be by his side. When he was released from the ER, the relative he was living with wouldn’t allow him to return to her home. The young man had nowhere to go, so Yvonne spent the whole day with him, taking him to lunch and then the park until we found him a new home.
“We had a really nice talk, we discussed his goals in life and I learned so much about him that day,” Yvonne said. She didn’t leave his side during the whole ordeal. Once we did find a new home for him, she moved all of his belongings from his former foster home to his new one. “I was willing to stay with him for as long as it took,” she said. Now he is in a stable and secure foster home placement.
For many other foster youth, the opportunity to take a simple outing or field trip — something many of us take for granted — is a special treat. There is one youth Yvonne works with who is an animal lover, so Yvonne arranged a special trip to visit a pet store with her. They spent the day petting the cats, and the youth found the experience to be extremely therapeutic. “By the end of our trip she could not stop saying how much her day was made and how much she enjoys our outings,” Yvonne said. “I appreciated hearing that I was able to do that for her.”
When other youth are mapping out their careers, Yvonne is able to access a host of college and career resources to help them achieve their goals. This year, Yvonne worked with 17-year-old Ashanti, who has continued to stay on track to earn her high school diploma and is preparing for cosmetology school. She has big dreams to open up her own salon, and with access to the right opportunities, nothing will get in the way of her success.
In the year ahead, thanks to the continued generosity of so many friends like you, Yvonne can continue to support our youth in foster care. Thanks for being a friend of New York City’s children.
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