Autumn finds her way with Turning Points

on 12 September 2017

Finding Purpose at Turning Points 

This September, Autumn, 22, celebrates her one-year anniversary of being independent. A year ago, Autumn wrote her first check to cover the cost of her rent; something she may never had accomplished if it weren’t for Turning Points for Children.For a long time, Autumn was simply going through the motions – living in and out of various foster homes, receiving services through the Department of Human Services (DHS), and experiencing what it was like to live homeless. 

Autumn admits that she didn’t always make the right decisions growing up. “I cared so much about what people thought of me, so I did anything to fit in. I would blow through all of my money. I would shoplift so I could have the same things that my friends had. I thought all of that was so important.” 

At age 18, Autumn withdrew herself from DHS services. She thought that she could handle adulthood at 18, but soon came to realize that she wasn’t prepared at all for what the world had in store for her. She knew that she still needed something to lean on. Thanks to Pennsylvania Act 91, which allows youth to re-enter care before turning 21 if they aged out at 18 or older, Autumn was able to apply to continue receiving services for an additional two years. 

Words from her grandmother seemed to echo in her head more than ever: “Make me proud.” Autumn was ready to take control of her life. And thanks to Turning Points for Children and its Community Umbrella Agency case managers, that’s exactly what she did. 

Learn more about the Community Umbrella Agencies here

Those that interacted with Autumn reflect that she was a strong individual who was able to advocate for herself and recognize the opportunity she had. It was clear she knew what she wanted. Autumn knew what she had to lose – and even more, what she had to gain.  

She was provided the right mentors to guide her in making healthy and responsible choices. Autumn discovered new purpose for her hard earned money. And she worked so diligently to gain her independence, she was able to take over the lease of her apartment in just six months in a program that is designed for one year. 

“I starting being more proactive about what I wanted. I realized that I don’t have to rely on anyone else but myself. I found my way back at Turning Points.” 

Today, Autumn is Case Aid at Turning Points. 

Autumn’s positive attitude and perseverance preceded her when she first met with the team at Turning Points. They quickly saw that Autumn wasn’t simply looking for a job, she was looking for a career; and more importantly, an outlet where she could give back, where she could share her story and inspire other kids just like her. 

  “I can’t think of a better place to be in my life than right here.”