Foster Teens Celebrate Graduation, Look to the Future - 8 News NOW

Foster Teens Celebrate Graduation, Look to the Future

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LAS VEGAS - Austin Roth celebrated his high school graduation Friday night, but his life has been anything but a party.

Placed in foster care through the Children's Advocacy Alliance, Austin knows what it's like to play musical chairs.

"It's hard," he said. "You don't wake up with your real family. You look at new faces. You have to go by their first name, and you can't go up and say, ‘Hi mom. Hi dad.' or ‘I love you.' It's a different person that's there."

"You wish you were dealt  the right hand, like a straight flush, where you have the perfect family, the perfect school, the perfect grades, all that," he said. "But if you take it and turn all the negatives into a positive, it makes you that much more stronger."

Even though he's shuffled from home to home, he's definitely defied the odds. Like many of the teens celebrating their graduation at the Italian American Club Friday night, Austin says he's going to college. He is ready to wean off the support of foster care and live an independent life.

"I've been living on my own, catching the bus," he said. "It's kind of hard, because I'm going to have to backtrack and move away from the agencies, moving away from the extra help and then having to start doing it myself – which - that's kind of scary."

"I'm amazed. All my life, I've been thinking I'm not going to make it. I'm not going to make it," he said. "That was in the back of my head. But, going from different homes, I was learning from new coaches - new experiences. Don't ever put that in the back of your head. Always put it as a positive, saying I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it."

Some of the other kids at the graduation party say they are ready for college and hope to one day work in the District Attorney's office.

The Children's Advocacy Alliance started in 1997. It advocates on behalf of abused and neglected children.

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