Sky Lopez, who recently graduated from Clovis High School, is driven by her experience in the foster care system and as a teen mom to take her education even further. She wants to make a difference for kids and teens facing similar challenges. Like her, they will need solid support and guidance that resonates to succeed in life.

Sky is a fitting person to provide these services as she was a foster care child from ages 6 to 13, when she was adopted by her second set of foster parents. “With 11 siblings, none of whom I have a close relationship with, I have always felt a deep calling to help foster kids, knowing firsthand the challenges they face,” she says.

Sky now wants to learn business principles and work toward earning a doctorate to be able to one day open her own psychology practice that will help children in foster care. Her first step: enrolling in Clovis Community College.

The Importance of Support Systems

The “supportive community of moms” Sky met through Shine Together as a teen mom were a lifeline, she says, and offered both emotional and practical support as she managed to keep up with her high school studies while raising her son, Shadrach. “Mentorship is incredibly important for young mothers in school,” she says. “Having someone who understands your journey because they have walked a similar path provides invaluable support and encouragement.”

Her Shine advocate was a particularly supportive force when Shadrach required surgery and Sky had to miss a week of classes. She needed that support to stay on track during a moment of adversity. Pushing forward during such times and other challenges has required resolve and a clear mind to make rational decisions, Sky says. She was rewarded for her ability to overcome the odds by being named salutatorian of her graduating class—one of her proudest moments, she says.

What’s her biggest motivator? Shadrach inspires her every day, Sky says: “His presence in my life is a constant reminder of why I work so hard and why I am determined to succeed.”

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