Wade was born to a teenage mother who, unable to support her child, gave up custody to his grandmother. He was raised by his grandma for over a decade… until one day, her boyfriend started getting abusive. An irresponsible addict, this man often forced Wade to stay home from school so he could take care of the household instead of furthering his education. One day, Wade couldn’t take it anymore: while at school, he reported his living situation to a counselor and was ultimately placed in the care of a foster family.

Wade spent years in and out of foster and group homes. Now, he is part of an independent living program and has high hopes for the future. When he first joined YOTO, Wade was impressed by the staff: his Program Coordinator pushed him to do better in school and personally invested time in him. According to Wade, “They cared about my growth and believed in me.” He also regularly visits the Mini-Mall for food, clothing, and school supplies.

Wade is on track to graduate with his peers in 2018. After high school, he has dreams of attending Pima Community College to get his Associates degree in accounting.