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Story of "Aliyah"

Each year, SOS Children’s Villages Illinois strives to uphold its 100% high school graduation rate, compared to the national average of 50% for children in foster care. So far in 2015, our high school seniors are off to an amazing start. One of our youth named Aliyah*, 18 years old and a senior at Lockport Township High School, distinguished herself by graduating early on January 10th. Initially she was expected to complete her courses in May and graduate with her peers. Due to much hard work and a great deal of dedication to her studies, Aliyah was able to complete her courses five months ahead of time – a wonderful achievement that deserves recognition.

Aliyah came to the Lockport Village in 2009 and was living with her two older twin sisters. Today, her two sisters live off the Village, but the three remain close and are often in contact with one another. Aliyah’s SOS Illinois foster mom, as well as the team of case workers and administrative staff have advocated for her social and emotional needs while in school. As a care team, they feel that Aliyah is an intelligent, capable, young woman who continues to exhibit a number of remarkable qualities such as fortitude, persistence, and an unstoppable drive to accomplish her goals. While completing her high school education, she found time to venture into her hobby of cosmetology and work a part-time job.

Aliyah already is enrolled in college and starts classes next week at Joliet Junior College. With goals of becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant, Aliyah lives each day by her motto, “Success is the Key.” We certainly believe that Aliyah has a bright future ahead of her and wish her much success.

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Susan

Story of "Susan"

Baby Susan’s story is all too familiar and echoes similar stories of the over 500,000 abused children in the U.S. When she was brought to SOS Illinois, it was clear she had been physically abused and was developmentally behind. At age 2, Susan had already endured immense suffering.

After 10 years with us, Susan has not only healed from her physical and emotional wounds, she has thrived to become an outgoing young woman and is considered the informal “mayor” of the Chicago Village.

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Mary

Story of "Mary"

Mary spent everyday of her life in foster care until she was finally adopted at age 11. Tragically, 4 years later, her adopted mother passed away and she was shuffled back through the child welfare system.

Understandably, Mary was suffering emotionally and academically when she came to SOS Illinois. But with the support and nurturing she needed to heal, this young woman transformed from a C and D student to an A student. Today top universities, such as Yale, are actively recruiting Mary, and she is well on her way to a bright future. Her success is in line with other SOS Foster Children, who achieve a 100% graduation rate. Nationally, only 54% of children in foster care graduate high school.

In her admissions letter for college Mary tells the story of how she rescued some stray kittens when she was very young because she knew how it felt to not have a mother. She goes on to explain how having unconditional love and support at an important time—like the kind that she received at SOS Illinois—can make all of the difference.

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