Childhood shapes calling to nurture children

IMG_1489_Teresa Letcher

“I never felt like a normal kid,” Theresa Letcher recalled of her childhood in foster care. “My mom wasn’t around much and we had to fend for ourselves. All I wanted was a family for my brother and sisters and me.”

At age nine, Theresa was separated from her younger siblings and entered a time of great uncertainty in foster care. She remembers moving onto a new family as soon as she was getting comfortable with the last one.

“I didn’t have the strong foundation kids need,” she said. Frequent moves to new school districts also made it difficult to feel a sense of belonging. As she approached age 18, life became even more uncertain.

“I was terrified of aging out of foster care,” she said. “I didn’t know how to find a job or a place to live.” Through the efforts of her foster mother, she discovered LSS Renaissance House, a Duluth-area transitional housing facility for youth, age 16 to 21.

“Had I not found the door to Renaissance, I would have wandered the streets,” she said. “I finally felt understood and like I belonged. With their support, I graduated high school and enrolled in college. I felt successful — like I had a chance to make something of my life.”

Theresa is now 30 and thriving in her work as a full-time, professional nanny. Dozens of children have benefited from her love and care. “My experiences as a child are what led me to this,” she said. “I want to provide for kids the caring, safe environment I was searching for most of my life.”

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