Program helps youth in transition in Forsyth County

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- With his infectious smile and upbeat personality, DaQuan White, 23, doesn't dwell on the past.

“I entered foster care when I was 5 years old,” White said.

Over the next 11 years, he would bounce around to different foster homes, frequently switching schools and having to start over. The hardest part was feeling alone. “Just not having anybody, like a strong support system,” he said.

What little support White had, vanished when he aged out of the system.

“In North Carolina, there are some supports for 18-21 year olds, but after they turn 21, that’s it,” said Alex Hudson, executive director of Youth in Transition. “They’re thrown out into the adult world.”

Youth in Transition is a nonprofit that aims to bridge the gap for White and about 50 other young adults in Forsyth County up to age 26. The Winston-Salem Foundation, in partnership with other community agencies and donors, helped start the program three years ago.

Youth Advisers and volunteer mentors work with the young adults on everything from forming healthy relationships and navigating everyday life, to job interview skills and balancing a budget.

“The difference between an 18 year old and a 25 year old is huge,” Hudson said. “And if you’re having to navigate that road on your own, there are so many places you can -- and folks do -- get tripped up.”