Former Foster Youth Beats All Odds
There is often a negative stigma that follows children in foster care, as some assume they are destined to have behavioral and developmental issues, criminal records, mental and emotional instability, etc. However, Anthony Preston, who was in foster care himself for 14 years, is helping to end that stigma and prove these assumptions to be false by sharing his story and showing foster youth they can be successful.
According to Portland’s KOIN 6 News, Anthony was taken from his birth family at a young age and struggled with the trauma that came with it. “I was confused, angry,” Preston says.” Why am I not with my family? Why am I not with my parents?” He began acting out in school, and even though he found some stability in a long-term placement with a foster brother to whom he grew close, he got into the wrong crowd—and into lots of trouble.
But his life came to a halt when his foster brother was killed in an act of violence. This caused Preston to change his life for the better. “I realized I have to turn it around,” Preston says. “He can’t turn his life around, so I have to do it for him. And I have to live my life in the best way that I can so that I can make him proud.”
With the help of his strict but loving foster mother, Preston found healthier ways to cope with his trauma and find structure in his teenage years, eventually realizing his potential and becoming part of the 2% of foster children who graduate college. Preston is now a police officer for the McMinnville Police Department in Oregon.
But it was also the support of a local foster care organization, Project Lemonade, that helped Preston get through those tough years. According to its website, Project Lemonade “provides foster youth with a back-to-school shopping experience and offers support to inspire self-esteem and promote success.”
“It took a village of people to rally around me in all different aspects of my life. I don’t think it’s ever just one person. It’s just a combination of the community that they have and I was just lucky,” Preston says.
Read more about Anthony Preston and Project Lemonade!