Nanaimo teen goes from foster care system to VIU grad
Graduation ceremonies are now in full swing, seeing thousands of Island students achieve goals they set out to achieve years ago. But what if you don’t have the family support or the financial means to go to school? That’s the scenario for thousands of foster kids who age out of the system each year, and are left at loose ends. Leading to high rates of them becoming entangled in our justice system, or committing suicide. It’s also what makes the story of one Nanaimo VIU graduate so inspiring.
With her disarming laugh and friendly smile, it’s easy to imagine Jaime Howden has lived a charmed life. But on the eve of graduating from VIU, this 19 year old’s proof that looks can be deceiving.
“So excited but I’m kind of nervous at the same time,” says Howden.
She’s earned this achievement and happy ending all on her own. Overcoming the odds that have claimed so many aging out of BC’s Foster Care system, after being removed from an abusive family home at 16.
“My dad hit me and that’s kind of what made me leave,” says Howden.
Now about to walk in cap and gown, to accept her diploma in hairdressing from VIU, she stands as one of the rare few who have made it out of foster care and thrived on the other side.