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'They are a part of us': Tulsa Girls Home plans for girls aging out of care

tulsa girls home
Posted at 4:13 PM, Apr 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-22 18:18:27-04

TULSA, Okla. — By the end of this summer, two of the town homes the Tulsa Girls Home is building for girls who age out of foster care will be complete.

When all funding is secured, there will be a total of four. These homes will act as 'transitional housing' of sorts.

Co-founder Brittany Stokes said the unknown of what came next for her girls when they reached legal adulthood was a constant fear that she knew needed a solution.

“When these girls were getting closer to 18, they were healing, they were doing so good, doing well in school, graduating and then they were freaking out because they were about to age out,” said Stokes. “They looked at me, and I’m like ‘I don’t know!’ And so, we had to take that step to show them that it’s not just us saying we’re going be here, we’re going demonstrate that.”

According to the U.S. Administration for Children and Families:

  • At least 26% of children who aged out of children who aged out of foster care experienced homelessness at some point by 21 years old.
  • A third did not have a high school diploma, a fourth of them had already given birth to a child.

For 17-year-old Jessie, this eased some of her worries. She's been with Tulsa Girls Home for about two years, and while she knew they wouldn’t just abandon her, Jessie didn’t want to lose the foundation she’s built.

“When I came to the Tulsa Girls Home, I was extremely depressed and had a really bad eating disorder, to the point where I just ... that I just wanted to really give up because I wasn’t really wanted by anyone at the time, and then I came here,” Jessie said. “A lot of people think that were just a group home, but we’re a lot more than that, definitely a family, we act like a family, we act like sisters. We have a bunch of moms here that take care of us… Family isn’t just blood, it’s what you make it.”

Jessie is going to be one of the first girls to get a town home, that stability will allow her to pursue a future she didn’t always know was possible.

She told 2 News she is attending Tulsa Community College in the fall, and is looking forward to studying medicine in some capacity, so she can help people, just like the Tulsa Girls Home staff helped her.

QUOTE: Jessie & Tulsa Girls Home

The mission of the non-profit is to help neglected or abused girls see their potential and value, so they can go back into the world and make an impact. From teaching life skills, to showing support and love, to providing resources and therapy, Tulsa Girls Home invests in whatever their girls ask for to ensure their needs are met.

Stokes said pouring in 14-16 years of love and parenting isn’t a job that can be fulfilled in a short time, so this gives them more time to connect and invest in their girls.

“These are our kids, they are part of us, and what we would do for our own, we do for them,” said Stokes. “The town homes really is just one key in this journey of healing, in this journey of hope in this journey of ‘hey, you know what, you can do anything do anything you put your mind to.’”

Three of the homes are fully funded, and two are underway. Tulsa Girls Home needs approximately $125,000 to complete the fourth. Once the funding is secured, they will begin construction on the third and fourth homes.

To support their mission and help Tulsa Girls Home complete the construction of the townhouses, visit their website for different ways to help.

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