Los Angeles County has more foster kids than any other place in the U.S., but when these kids turn 18, they are often left on the street without resources or help. One nonprofit is changing that by giving these teens a fresh start.
Danyielle Crawford grew up in foster care, but she has been on her own since she turned 18. She was struggling to take care of her family, until A Sense of Home stepped in.
A Sense of Home uses donated items to set up homes and apartments for foster children who have "aged out" of the system and do not have a place to go. The group also hires former foster kids to help the teens move in.
These movers just set Crawford up with a furnished apartment.
"I can't believe this is happening," Crawford said. "This is so nice. I promise you, I never had nothing like this in my life."
A Sense of Home was started by the couple Georgie Smith and Melissa Goddard. They once wanted to adopt from the foster system but decided to set up their nonprofit to help hundreds of foster kids instead of just one.
"I saw it as an opportunity for we the community to show up, to be the village for these youth," Smith said.
Over the last two years, A Sense of Home has set up homes for more than 140 former foster children. Each new home comes with a house warming party filled with music and dancing.
"This is a celebration of them having made it, that they've beat the odds … and that they are worthy of being celebrated," Smith said.
Jessica Torres had been living in a shelter and in her car with her two children before A Sense of Home gave her a new place to live.
"It's been really hard with my kids, they've been bouncing around with me, but now we don't have to bounce around anymore," Torres said.
Torres plans to come back and volunteer to pay forward the help and kindness she and her kids received.
"No one understands how happy I am right now," she said.
As for Smith and Goddard, they said the kids they help have become their family.
"These youth are so special and so resilient and wise and fun," Goddard said. "There's so much love and hope in their heart."
A Sense of Home has been nominated as one of CNN's Heroes. To vote, donate or volunteer to help, visit their website.