A Safe Place for Tommie

A Safe Place for Tommie

Tommie spent most of her childhood on the move, but not in the active, rambunctious way you might be thinking…

Tommie grew up in the foster care system. She had seven different placements before the age of 19 and never knew what each move would bring. Her life was filled with uncertainty and instability. With so many different homes with constantly revolving doors, she never felt truly safe and comfortable. 

She recalls one move to a new foster home in the middle of the pandemic that had her feeling particularly unsettled because her social workers were changing frequently and she kept getting new placements. In the middle of all of the turmoil, Tommie had one constant, one source of stability, and that was Omaha Home for Boys. 

“I remember I was sitting in the Planet Fitness parking lot feeling really defeated and I got a call from Sarah that came at the perfect time,” shared Tommie. 

Sarah was Tommie’s Independent Living Specialist that she was working with through our Branching Out Independent Living Program. Sarah and Tommie had been working together for a few months. The two had started with the basics, working on things like helping Tommie get her driver’s license and other vital documents in order. Even more important was that Sarah proved to be the one person in Tommie’s life who was always there no matter what. 

“Sarah checked in with me at least a couple of times a month and it was always one of those things where she just had perfect timing,” said Tommie. “She always checked on me when I didn’t have the answers and when I was moving so much. She was so consistent in my life when I had no other consistency at all.” 

With Sarah’s guidance and encouragement, Tommie set her sights on going to college. The two worked on financial aid applications and Sarah pushed Tommie to apply for an OHB Scholarship, which she earned and has used to help pay for tuition and books during her time studying Black Studies and Chicano Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. 

“If I hadn’t found OHB, I genuinely don’t think I would have the opportunities available to me that I’ve had, especially in my schooling. Not only the physical items like books, and the financial help like the scholarship, but mainly the mentality to do it all,” said Tommie. “Sarah shone a light on what was actually possible for me.” 

Today, Tommie is spending her junior year studying abroad and has plans to one day be a criminal defense attorney. She is quick to share her appreciation for having OHB in her life when everything around her seemed so uncertain. 

“Having seven different homes in my background – constantly going from place to place – you don’t always know what’s going to be a safe place, but through all of those transitions, OHB has always been my safe place.” 

Tommie is the first generation in her family to go to college, and when she achieves a milestone like making the Dean’s List, her siblings are the first people she calls. On behalf of her entire family, Tommie extends her heartfelt thanks to each and every supporter of OHB. 

“Thank you oh so much! I don’t even know if I have the amount of words to show my gratitude because OHB has played such a vital role in my education. Thank you from me and all of my family. I know for a fact that it would be a big thank you from all of my family,” shared Tommie. 

Make a difference today!

Isn’t it amazing what Tommie was able to accomplish thanks to the generous support of friends like you! We have many young adults just like Tommie in our programs right now who are in need of the same educational support she received at OHB. Your gift today can help them connect with vital educational resources.