When life handed lemons to 23-year-old Cherish Thomas, she didn’t throw a pity party. Instead, she made lemon meringue pie.
To see Cherish now – a beautiful, poised and upbeat young woman – you’d never think that she experienced hardships growing up. But she did.
Cherish grew up in the foster care system and experienced more than 20 placements that included group homes, detention centers, foster homes, the streets and three failed adoptions. Over her lifetime, Cherish attended 14 schools, including five different high schools before graduating. On top of that, she encountered physical abuse and experienced depression after being separated from her siblings.
“I was born into a situation that people would deem be designed to cycle disaster,” Cherish said. “In some forms in my journey it did. However, this disaster would not dictate my future.
Cherish’s life after foster care has been far from disaster. Through perseverance and determination, she mapped out a great life for herself. Cherish is a scholar at the University of Michigan where she is earning a master’s degree. Additionally, Cherish is paying it forward to girls and young women who’ve been in the foster care system. A few years ago, she founded Cherish Our Youth (COY), a mentoring program for girls.
On May 21, COY will host the third annual Girl’s Youth Summit. This year’s theme “From Diamond in the Rough to Princess Cut,” is a true testament of Cherish’s life.
For her achievements, service to youth and resilience, Empowered Flower Girl honors Cherish Thomas as a Girl Living Powerfully.
Check out Cherish Our Youth on Facebook.