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Aging Out
My Story
David Griffin
Risa Bejarano
Daniella Anderson
Keely Lopez
Thomas Hudson

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Photos of Keely's past
Photos of Keely's past

KEELY: Growing up with Phil made me feel like I had someone close to me and felt like a parent. I was abused. My mother used to hit me a lot. She used to really beat my behind when she was on drugs. At the age of seven is when my mother passed away. I really didn't know my father. I never lived with him. He passed away first.

Losing parents is the most painful thing I think a kid could go through so young, especially girls. You go through a little bit of things like puberty and stuff and you're going to want a mother or somebody to sit there and talk to. I think things would be a lot different if I had parents in my life. I really get into this depression where I don't want be bothered with nobody. I don't want hear what anybody's got to say. I don't want to take phone calls. I get real cranky and that's how my depression is.

Video of Keely talking about losing family
Losing parents is the most painful thing I think a kid could go through so young. I think things would be a lot different if I had parents in my life.

Video of Keely seeking public assistance
Keely became depressed and simply stopped going to work, without even calling her employer. She was terminated and very soon her money in the bank had dwindled down to $10. She was no longer able to pay the rent and was worried about telling the landlord that she lost her job because she was worried about being evicted. To help make ends meet, Keely invited Jasmine, her longtime friend from her old group home, to move into the apartment.

KEELY: I always thought that I would never invite anybody to live in my house. Jasmine just started working and she's helping me the best way she could. It's good that we live together. I feel so lost now that I'm not working. It just be so hard in here where we don't even have food to eat sometimes. Thank God Jasmine's mother lives around the corner because she helps us the best way she could. It's just painful sometimes to be around certain of your friends who do have family. They come visit and you don't have anybody to come visit you.

Keely did not pay the rent for several months and faced the very real possibility of eviction. Phil decided it was time for her to seek help.

PHIL: We are now two months behind in rent. I don't want to scare you, but after three months, that is when they could start proceedings in order to have you vacated from the premises. We're going to go and file for public assistance. There's nothing to feel ashamed about with that, Keely, believe me. We'll take food stamps, we'll take cash. Right now we'll take any kind of assistance we possibly can get.

KEELY: I just didn't want to ever do it because I was brought up on it my whole life living with my parents. I just wanted to do something different and I didn't want to be like everybody else. I don't have nothing against people that are on it, it's just that I wanted to be different. I feel so low inside because it's something that I didn't really want to do. But if it boils down to me needing help, I'll try to get it.

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