SARAH DUGAS / DISCOVER WHO YOU REALLY ARE

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"[Being in the foster system], taught me that hardship builds character. I gained a lot of strength in beating the odds and pushing past hurt and disappointment. It taught me that I am a strong woman."

Sarah Dugas shares #HerStory:

"One of the most challenging and defining moments is the day I came home to yellow tape and police blocking my entrance to the door of my grandma's home. This a place I had lived a majority of my life; a place that was the safest space since the age of 5, when my grandma picked my brothers and I from our 3rd foster placement; a place that allowed me to just be the big sister and not parent to my little brothers; a place that eventually became the setting of my only fear manifesting- the fear of losing my brothers. Once I got past the tape, I was punched in the gut with the news my brother, who at the time was 16, was shot and killed. My world was shattered... And I still had to prepare for emancipation. I had 3 months to figure out my next move. I had to leave. I just didn't know where I was going... that is until I joined UFC Pathways program that year. My brother's death was the unfortunate spark to take my life seriously. I had been in a place of procrastination and no vision of the future ahead of me. I had no belief in myself and my abilities. I had already doomed myself as a repeat of my mother... but I refused to allow my brother to watch me turn into such. So his death brought purpose to my life- with the goal to make him proud and to indulge in all moments for tomorrow isn't promised.

Being in the foster system has taught me to be resourceful. It forced me to identify my needs. I had to get up and seek it myself. It taught me to be observant and be aware of my surroundings.

The best advice that I would pass along... is to know that everything we do is a choice, even not making a choice. So always take a moment to sit down with yourself and discover who you really are. Be aware so that the choices that need to be made will actually be seen."

Foster Nation