Based on his chat with Huffington Post, out of everything he's accomplished for children in the system, it seems like being a foster dad was the biggest for Guy Bryant.
Working for the New York Board of Education and later becoming a house parent for a group home in Queens were obvious career paths for the community-oriented family man. His current role at the Administration for Children’s Services' program, Supervision to 21, fulfills the 61-year-old in ways he can't explain. Especially since it means helping young adults between the ages of 18-to-21, who've aged out of foster care with services like housing, employment, and healthcare.
“There’s definitely a need for the services because what happens is when a youth gets 18 years old, a lot of times they feel like, ‘I can do this.’ Most of the kids, they can’t admit who they are. Their identity is lost somewhere between the home they’ve lived in and the other 10 foster homes they might have lived in.”
It wasn't until 2007 when one of his boys asked Guy to be his father. By seeking resources through a New York agency called, Rising Ground, what started as the taking in one, turned into a brownstone full of nine men. (Literally, since Bryant rented the floor above his apartment for extra space.) Over the span of 12 years, Guy has taken pride in knowing he has fostered more than 50 young men.
“The difficult thing about building trust is their past interactions with adults. If I can get you to engage in conversation with me about how you’re feeling and what’s going on, then that right there, my job is done. They constantly need to be reinforced that ‘I am here. I am going to do what I say.’ My kids will tell you whatever I say, I’m going to do for you. I always do it because I don’t want you to look at me like one of those adults who let you down.”
With countless children in need, Guy shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
Photo: Huffington Post