Young adults aging out of foster care get a chance to celebrate the holidays

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Jonathon Rutland’s journey through foster care started when he was five years old.

“I was… with my mom,” he told Ozarks First Reporter David Chasanov. “There was some stuff in the vehicle when we got stopped by the police that shouldn’t have been there. So, naturally, they took me into custody.”

After being separated from his mom, Rutland was moved to Joplin. He lived there with his foster parents until 2009.

“[My foster parents], they were getting up there in years, and my behavior issues at the time were just too much for them to be able to handle,” he said. “So because of that, they put me in Boys and Girls Town of Missouri, which is now Great Circle.”

He stayed at Great Circle for five years. From there he moved on to Community Youth connections, an adjustment he says is really helping him out.

“Now I’ve got my apartment, I just recently got my driver’s license, they’re actually going to be helping me get a car, and then they’re basically donating that vehicle to me. So I’ve come quite a ways from being on the streets to being where I’m at now,” he said.

On Christmas Day, Rutland and others with similar backstories were invited to “shop” for clothes and shoes. All goods taken home were free of charge, courtesy of FosterAdopt Connect.

“They can walk out with clothing, hygiene items, any supplies they need like that to take home with them. Everything is free,” Julie Murray, Program Director with Foster Adopt Connect.

“Words can’t even begin to really describe how grateful I am for this program,” Rutland said Christmas. “Everything they’ve done for me over the past few years. This is awesome, I couldn’t ask for much more.”

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