Traveling widened my perspective and ignited a determination to be a voice for those who may never have such opportunities.

At 13, I didn’t know why I was being placed in foster care. I later found out my mother had health issues and she couldn’t take care of me or herself. By my third placement, I found out that both my parents had passed away. This was at the height of COVID and my junior year of high school, so needless to say I was in a dark place. But eventually, through therapy and talking with my social worker at The Children’s Village I was able to figure out that acceptance is the first step in dealing with life’s challenges.

Entering college at Louisiana State University was rough at first, but with CV’s support, I found stability. Now, as a sophomore with a 3.5 GPA, studying sports administration with a minor in coaching, I thrive, having found a permanent home with other relatives. I was ready to take on my next steps in life and see what the world had to offer me.

A year ago, my therapist surprised me with the opportunity of a lifetime: CV was taking a group of youth on a trip to Ghana, Africa to learn about black history. Before my parents passed, we always spoke about traveling especially to Africa. I was so excited about this new adventure, “The Sankofa Experience” and those previous conversations made the trip that much more meaningful.

After getting my first passport, that was it—I was on my way to Ghana. In the weeks leading up to our trip, all the participants met to discuss African culture, stereotypes, and our own implicit biases. I had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

In Ghana, I enjoyed visiting the Learn and Play Foundation, and leading a cha-cha slide with underserved children in the area. By the end of the class, we were all like best friends. My favorite part of the trip was visiting The Last Bath at the Assin Manso Slave River Site. A CV chaperone had a special ritual done for his family members who had passed away that year and it reminded me of that dark place I was once in. Thankfully my peers gathered around me to comfort me. I do not do hugs but being there connecting helped me open up and let go.

Reflecting on my journey from feeling lost and lonely to exploring Ghana, I’m so grateful for this transformative experience. Traveling widened my perspective and ignited a determination to be a voice for those who may never have such opportunities.

Angelica, was a part of our Family Foster Care division and is one of the 26 participants to join CV in ‘The Sankofa Experience’- in Ghana, West Africa. Our young people got to dive into history, culture, and heritage, following the principle of Sankofa -’go back and get it,’ to understand where we’ve come from in order to move forward with purpose.

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