SANTA ANA, Calif. — A year ago, Anthony embarked on a transformative journey by enrolling in the Orangewood Foundation’s Youth Connected Program.

Designed to offer an innovative support system, a safe home environment and crucial socio-emotional and academic resources for teenagers in foster care, the program has had a profound impact on his life.

As a new foster care parent, he has experienced invaluable self-discovery and developed a stronger bond with his 17-year-old daughter.

In Orange County alone, where over 2,000 youth are in foster care, program director Enrique Montiel highlights the significance of the initiative.

By providing weekday dormitory living and schooling, the program addresses a critical need. However, Montiel stresses the pressing challenge of recruiting more foster care parents.

The program’s collaboration with parents focuses on training them to create a safe and nurturing environment for the youth they care for, fostering a brighter future for these vulnerable individuals.