a new path. 

I spent some a few days with Blanca, a youth advocate who grew up with a troubled childhood. Here's how the article started out: 

When Blanca Guerra was 13, she said she was kicked out of the house and left homeless.

She spent nights in the Suisun-Fairfield Cemetery on Union Avenue behind the columbarium – the wall where cremation remains are kept. It gave her protection from the wind. Sometimes she slept in the park on Second Street.

“I remember it was so cold at night,” she said.

A chaotic family life, physical fights, drugs, drinking, scrounging for food at friends’ homes, foster care and street gangs were the norm for her.

Today, Guerra is a youth advocate for the county’s foster children with Child Welfare Services. She’s a self-confident, driven college student/graduate of 22 who knows where she wants to be in a decade but also isn’t afraid to acknowledge that she’s still a work in progress and still has struggles to overcome.

Her message is a simple one: If she can begin to pull herself out of a troubled life, so can others.

“I’ve been in juvenile hall. I’ve been in foster care. I’ve been through all that . . . ” she said. “You can get to where I am. Sooner or later you have to let go of your past in order to move on to the future.”

these images are © 2013 Fairfield Daily Republic and may not be reprinted or used without permission.

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