Who helped you open your first bank account and taught you to manage money? Who walked you through applying for a first job, apartment or college?
Most would answer: mom or dad.
Growing up, Anthony Eaborn, 20, didn’t have someone to teach him the basics of adult life.
Eaborn went into foster care at age 2. He was placed in six different homes before being adopted at age 6 by a family with 10 other adopted children. At age 17, Eaborn went back into foster care when a judge decided he was a danger to his family.
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Aging out of the foster care system, Eaborn was going to move out on his own. But first, his foster father suggested he talk to staff at The Hope Center at Pullen, a nonprofit that connects young people aging out of foster care in Wake County with resources to be self-sufficient.
“They talked about what I would have to do if I moved out,” Eaborn said. “Half the stuff they told me, I didn't know how to do or even knew existed.”
Hope Center at Pullen was founded in 2009 to help the chronically homeless and evolved to helping kids aging out of foster care in 2012 when the organization realized many who are homeless have a history in foster care.
“About 40 percent of kids aging out of the foster system will be homeless,” said Executive Director Stacy Bluth. “We want to prevent homelessness before it happens, which is a unique and exciting way to look at this kind of work.”
The center went from assisting 10 foster kids the first year to about 100 in 2014. But it cannot do it without the help of partner agencies and donors.
The center will hold its largest annual fundraiser Thursday night. The Raising Hope Gala is expected to draw 175 guests, most notably actress Lolita Foster from the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.”
When asked to emcee the gala by a family friend, Foster didn’t know what she could contribute because she had no idea what it’s like to be in foster care.
“I’ve had completely loving parents who are, in my mind, the best in the world,” said Foster, a native of Farmville, Va.
Foster arrived in Raleigh on Wednesday to meet and talk with a few kids before the gala.
“Now hearing their stories, I realize how much having a support system has impacted me in the rest of my life,” she said. “When you see three kids without it and them having to find their way, it’s astounding that they are doing as well as they are. It’s inspirational.”
Foster helped a couple of the Pullen clients practice the speeches they will deliver at the event. Eaborn said he didn’t need help describing how The Hope Center at Pullen became a bank of resources for him.
Eaborn says the center brought its partners in housing, employment and education to one table to assist him in creating short- and long-term life goals and a path to accomplishing them.
Now with an apartment and job as a server at IHOP, Eaborn just completed his first semester at Wake Tech studying health science. He loves boxing and aspires to be a personal trainer.
“I wouldn’t be able to make it on my own,” Eaborn said. “I would be homeless right now. That’s probably where I would be.”
How to help
For donation and volunteer opportunities, visit www.hopecenteratpullen.org or call 919-322-2751