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"Do not let your environment define you. Do not succumb to negativity, shortcomings, or others expectations of you. You are not and will not be a statistic."

Reyna Lopez shares #HerStory:

"I feel like the biggest challenge I faced growing up and being in the foster care system was not having the freedom and ability to change my surroundings and environment. Also the fact that my concerns were disregarded and I was viewed as inferior by many. I think being in a group home with 19 other girls was also hard, it felt like a prison for myself. I felt trapped, like everything was being decided for me and I had no say so in my own life. Everything was chosen for me from where I went to school and what I did to where I lived and what I ate. I felt as though I did not have a voice. I decided to focus on the future and the fact that I would have the ability to make my own decisions then and the fact that I would make every possible decision and sacrifice to change my life for the better.

I needed what every other individual needs when growing up and entering adulthood. I needed a guiding hand, mentor, or words of advice. To be taught the necessary skills needed to function properly and prosper in society.

The foster care system taught me how to be more independent. To develop self motivation and tenacity. To not depend on anyone else to hear me or help me but instead help myself and make myself heard.

You decide your own future. Your worth is not measured on others opinions of you but on your own perception of yourself and on what you decide for yourself. You have the power to do and become anything you want. You may have to struggle a bit or maybe a lot more than others to reach your goals but it will only develop your character and story that much more."

Foster Nation