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Restaurant Owner Helps Foster Children Who Age Out of the System

Experiencing the scary side of life after aging out of the foster care system herself, made Sonya Brown-Tillison ready to help those who'd find themselves in the same predicament.

Sonya's the owner of a vegan restaurant in Carrollton, Louisiana. Between her love for cooking and helping fostered youth, it's hard to call which holds a bigger place in her heart. That's why she combined both passions.

Before finding refuge in the kitchen, the entrepreneur was a social worker who advocated for children in the system. She started Project 18, which assisted those aging out. Now, she's sourcing the youth from Project 18 to work at her place, NOLA Vegan Cafe. She told WDSU:

"When kids age out of foster, their focus is housing, employment and education. A lot of times, they don’t have a lot of work experience. So, when they’re aging out of foster care, they’re just looking for a place to work."

She's been able to instill the value of time management and professionalism in the workplace. For those who aren't lucky enough to have Brown-Tillison in their lives as a mentor, she offers these words of wisdom:

"Know the people who are going to support you. Always stay in contact with them. Don’t lose them even when you age out. Don’t feel like you’re alone when you 18 or when you age out. Just have faith and believe the people who support you will continue to support you. Stay positive. Don’t have any negative thoughts. Just stay positive."

Catch the full report here.

Photo: WDSU