For most of his life, Tristan craved stability. Bouncing between foster homes, he often felt lonely and struggled with depression. Growing up without a place to call home was tough, but Tristan found solace in discovering his passion—cooking. He dreamed of one day having a kitchen of his own where he could experiment with new flavors and create nutritious meals.

Upbring’s BeREAL program made Tristan’s dream come true by providing him with his own apartment. Now 20 years old, his passion for cooking has only grown stronger. He has mastered his favorite recipe—Sweet Chili Pork Barbeque Bowls—and continues to build his collection of delicious meals to whip up in his kitchen.

Backed by the incredible support of Upbring’s partners, our Supervised-Independent Living program is designed to help youth aging out of foster care transition into independence. Amid a global pandemic, this new season came with additional challenges for Tristan. He struggled with finding full-time employment due to businesses’ layoffs and pay cuts. On top of that, he could not afford to repair his only mode of transportation after it broke down.

Fortunately, he was able to turn to the BeREAL team for assistance. They coordinated grocery deliveries to his doorstep, provided mental health check-ins and offered gift cards to help with unexpected expenses. With more time to think about his future, Tristan reevaluated his career path and is now considering culinary school. Our BeREAL program continues to empower Tristan to pursue his dreams. “BeREAL has been life-changing and crucial to my success,” said Tristan.

Through financial contributions and support from community partners and local churches, our BeREAL program continues to help those aging out of foster care who are also experiencing unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic.

To learn more about BeREAL and how you can make a difference in the lives of young adults like Tristan, visit Upbring.org/BeREAL.

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