By News 9
Written By: JASON LANNING
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A Bay area nonprofit is participating in the Strawberry Festival to shine a light on its important work.
If you head out to the Strawberry Festival this year, you are going to spot a booth that says Forgotten Angels.
But the work the group is doing makes sure no foster kids are forgotten.
The group lends a helping hand to young adults fresh out of the foster care system, reaching out before it’s too late.
At the Forgotten Angels farm outside Lithia, dreams are big for 23-year-old Jermeal Williams.
He is a former foster child that aged out of the system and then faced the harsh reality of just how hard it can be living on your own.
“I had my apartment at 18,” Williams said. “But I had lost my apartment for being irresponsible and stuff like that.”
Williams, like so many other young adults aging out of the foster care system, wasn’t equipped to handle the outside world so young.
That’s when he says a friend introduced him to the farm and the opportunity it could offer him.
“I’d probably still be homeless or trying to find another way to get money if it wasn’t for them,” he said.
For the past three years, Williams has lived at the farm. He’s been working there in exchange for a place to stay. He stays in a tiny home and has use of a vehicle, job training and most of all, mentoring.
David Tyler runs Forgotten Angels and said what the group and farm offers is a financial and life skills foundation for young adults that wouldn’t have it otherwise.
“Being a biological parent shouldn’t be the standard for helping somebody,” Tyler said. “The standard is that they are human beings and they are of value and they deserve support.”
Williams remains appreciative of the support he has received and said someday he’ll be happy to pay forward.
At Forgotten Angels, it’s not about changing the entire world, Tyler said.
The group just wants to young adults that will eventually grow into the world and do the same.