“My name is Jonathan Thomas, and I am an emancipated foster youth who dedicates my time training others, and spreading awareness for the need for foster homes. During my childhood I endured many tough obstacles. Such obstacles often left me devoid of any self-worth. I became physically, emotionally, and mentally crippled by feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and loneliness. These experiences were brought to an end when I entered the foster care system when I was 14 years old. Despite the foster care system being my knight, and shining armor, all was not perfect. The first home I encountered in care was great at first, but became neglectful, as it sought to control my brothers, and I through rules, and regulations. Paranoia quickly overcame the love in their hearts, as they sought to protect what they had, and who they were from the presence of complete, and total strangers in their home. This hurt more than words can describe. How I loved them, and cared for them. But it became clear to not only my brothers, and I (but also the other foster son they had) that we would never be more than that. Foster children. There was no hope for a united family. This caused us to clash with our caseworker, (who we were convinced could care less about our wellbeing.) The rules, and regulations set on us by the home we lived in, were only outmatched by the rules, and regulations of the county itself. After two years with this home I was moved to another. This home was different in every way. It was not “perfect” but whatever imperfections dwelt within their family quickly rose to the surface, and was addressed, as they tried to open themselves up to multiple placements of children. I still have a staunch relationship with them till this day. When I emancipated at 18, I tried to return to the home of my birth. Only to be isolated, and forsaken by them. This broke me. For the first time all of the undealt trauma came pouring in on me as I felt unloved, and unwanted by anyone. I soon found myself homeless in Fremont, Ohio. I was rescued by a friend of mine who lives in that city, and she helped me. I then moved to Bowling Green Ohio, where I have lived since. I now advocate for teens, and children that have traumatic pasts, and were in the foster care system. I seek to spread awareness for the need for foster homes everywhere to help assist young adults in life. The question must be asked, what was going on that made the state get involved in this child’s life in the first place. The foster care is system is supposed to be the answer. Foster homes the solution. But so often what a child goes through as a kid sticks with them beyond childhood. I am grateful to the Ohana Project, and so many other rising organizations that seek to tackle this issue with patience, and love. To show these youth a better way of life, so that they might be productive, and contributing members of society.”
The Ohana Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in Toledo, Ohio.