Wednesday, June 26, 2024

If You See Them

One day Vicki’s son, Cam, brought home a girl from his highschool. He didn’t know her well but she was smart, living on her own and about to drop out of school in order to earn enough money to support herself. A caring person, Vicki had been volunteering and organizing hundreds of meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas through a local charity for years. But maybe that wasn’t enough. Vicki slowly learned there was a large population of “unaccompanied homeless youth” in their midst that slipped through the cracks of our society alone, terrified and hopeless. She learned that ONLY children “taken” from the home are considered for the foster care system, an agency most people believe ensure the well being of minors. Now she understood the homeless youth she identified do not qualify for any benefits. Vicki Sokolik, a resident of Tampa Florida founded a nonprofit called Starting Right, Now - later coined SRN. Once identified by school administration these teens can apply to be part of this incredible hands-on program where they receive guidance, mentorship and a roof over their heads. The goal is to aid these young people to lead productive, healthy lives and build a trustworthy the support system they never had. As Vicki details her experiences creating the organization and the obstacles they faced, she also highlights the many personal journeys of these teens. Some are shocking, all are heartbreaking. This incredible woman along with her team has led the path to great change in her community and legislature in the State of Florida. It is a shining example of what patience, perseverance and change can accomplish. Writing a check is appreciated but not always enough when the system is broken. Thank you Vicki, for opening my eyes. We can all be a part of the solution. Highly recommend this well written and necessary read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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