Q&A with Samantha, Alumni of Foster Care

Name: Samantha (she/her)

Age: 24

What Type of Caring System were you in?

foster care, supervised independent living

What was your duration of time in care?

14 years

Who is a positive role model/mentor/support system you’ve been able to rely on in care? 

When in foster care, I had supervised independent living (SIL) which helped with an apartment and living expenses.

What is one achievement you’ve made or obstacle you’ve overcome that would not have been possible without your lived experience? 

We were homeless and lived in a shelter while I got on my feet with employment & housing. One achievement is giving my sons a stable home to live.


What are your career and/or educational ambitions? Are these ambitions influenced by your lived experiences? If so, why? 

I am currently enrolled in college for Criminal Justice and Psychology. My dream is to become an FBI agent. Helping people is my goal.

Many people have helped me in life, and I want to give back.


What is a resource that you did not have but feel you and others could benefit from and why? 

Fortunately, I have had many resources in life. I am thankful every day. If you work hard, stay on track, and reach out when you need help – someone will be there.

What is one piece of positive advice you would give a current youth in care? 

Never give up! No matter how hard life gets, it can and will get better.

Q&A with Joelle Pitts, Executive Director of The RJ Leonard Foundation


Resource: RJ Leonard Foundation

Location: Doylestown, PA

Website: www.rjleonardfoundation.org

Mission Statement: 

We educate, initiate careers and personally mentor young adults ​who are aging out of the foster care system.

Tell us what inspired the creation of your organization/resource:

The RJ Leonard Foundation (RJLF) was launched in 2009 by Jo Leonard in memory of her father. His passion for education, along with Jo’s successful experience working directly with young adults as they transition from high school and college, inspired her to start the foundation. Only 3% of foster care youth will earn a college degree. RJLP believes in the power of education and is driven to improve secondary educational outcomes for foster youth.

What population of foster youth and/or foster care alumni do you serve? 

Young adults who are about to or who have aged out of foster care.

What is your service area?

Pennsylvania – Bucks and Montgomery counties

How can we help support your work? 

You can support our Foundation as a resource for young people and adults that may have an interest in Mentoring.