How Former Foster Youth Navigate the COVID-19 Outbreak
As the pandemic continue we wonder how former and current foster youth are managing. The COVID-19 outbreak is impacting everyone, especially vulnerable groups. As we work towards reducing the spread, we are interviewing former foster youth about their experience.
This week we speak with Sara S. a 20-year-old student at Pace University in NY. She is studying health science to become a Physicians Assistant.
Q. How is the COVID-19 Outbreak Impacting You?
A. I have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak in a variety of ways. Just as anyone else, we all must practice social-distancing and staying inside unless it is absolutely necessary to go outside. For me personally, I have had living issues. Issues such as those who carry the fear of getting COVID-19 don’t want to be near me because I happen to work at an Urgent Care which has led to me even having to be in a hotel. I am back in the dorms now though which is great! Transportation has also affected me as well. I do not drive and to keep those who are scared of getting COVID-19 away from me, I have to use Uber.
Q. What are the Steps You are Taking to Manage During the Outbreak?
A. Fortunately, I am back in the dorms at Pace University and I am able to stay there until the end of the semester. The steps I am currently taking is if I need food, I can go when I get off of work because there is a grocery store right there. Besides that, I am trying to focus on my schoolwork because classes are still happening online. When it comes to summer and the pandemic is still going on, I am not too sure where I am going to live. Hopefully I won’t have to be in a hotel again.
Q. How is Your Community Impacted by the COVID-19 Outbreak?
A. The outbreak has affected my community by discontinuing large social gatherings which led to in-person classes turning onto online classes. That has made a huge impact on a lot of students because it is much harder to focus on school assignments. It also affected our community by practicing social distancing or to quarantine oneself. Pace University has done a great job of offering resources for those who are planning to stay for the rest of the semester and I am very grateful for them.
Q. How Do You Think the COVID-19 Outbreak is Impacting Other Current and Former Foster Youth?
A. I think this is impacting other foster youth in many ways. Of course, it depends on the person’s situation but if this youth were to be alone, this could be hard to live by themselves with no support especially if they cannot go to work unless it is essential. For those who have a great support system, they can stay with them or get the help that they need. Those who are alone and are in another state for school may also be struggling because they might want to go home and cannot.
Q. What Have You Experienced as Someone in the Medical Profession?
A. As someone who is in the medical profession, there are a lot of things I am noticing first hand. I can tell that patients are scared of this virus whereas others do not care. There has been patients who follow proper protocol such as calling before coming in, staying in their car, etc. Some patients that don’t follow proper protocol may come into the waiting room, sit down, be taken back into a room, and then mention they were exposed to COVID-19. This can be a very scary experience because it puts the other patients in the waiting room in danger as well as the staff.
I understand people are scared, in some cases, I am too, but it is my job to be there for patients and to help them. At my job, we do offer testing; however, you have to meet certain criteria for the testing to be available to you since we have a limited amount of tests. For me personally, it is hard to determine whether a patient fits certain criteria but we all follow the guidelines given to us by DOH.
Q. What is Some Advice or Words of Wisdom You can Share with People in the Foster Community?
A. Some advice I can give out to those who are in the foster community would be that everything works out in the end if you put in that effort. When something goes wrong or needs to be fixed, immediately reach out to those in DCFS who can help you and solve your issues. Be persistent! Learning to save money is also important. I happen to pay for everything, even college, and sometimes it can be quite a struggle. That’s why saving money is so important as well as doing scholarships. Do as many scholarships as you can!!
Q. How has Together We Rise Helped You During the COVID-19 Outbreak?
A. I reached out to Together We Rise because I needed assistance in regards to financial purposes. Together We Rise has helped me by providing a gift card for Uber and providing money for groceries which I am very grateful for!! Thank you so much for that, it truly has helped.
In conclusion, we want to thank Sara for sharing her experience during the COVID-19 outbreak. We hope that Sara and those working on the frontlines continue to stay safe.
If you are interested in helping foster youth through the COVID-19 outbreak, get involved here.