After participating in AGING OUT, Risa resided in an independent living apartment for five months and enrolled in online college courses. She then moved in with her sister Ale. Risa lost her job at a grocery store chain in Southern California as a result of a strike last winter and sought employment and a larger apartment to share with her sister and her sister's two-year-old daughter.
Risa was awarded a grant administered by the United Friends of the Children, giving her up to $5,000 to help her manage staying in school while making the transition from foster care to independent living. Risa expressed hope that she could return to the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Through early 2004, Risa stayed in touch with Dolores, her foster mother, and went to her house for dinner once a month. She had not seen her birth mother since Mother's Day 2003 and had no plans to do so.
Risa continued to battle drug addiction while struggling to stay in school and hold a job. In early June 2004, Risa had no place to live. On June 5th she was found shot and killed in her car in Los Angeles.
This film is dedicated to Risa's memory and the goal of helping teens leaving foster care make a safer transition to adulthood.