After ten years in foster care and more than 30 placements, Corey Benbow found himself on his own at 18 years old.
“When I aged out of the foster care system, I felt alone. I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay bills and be a contributing member of society.”
One of the biggest hurdles Corey faced was finding support to get his life on track.
“I turned to ACC. The student support services teams were right there when I needed them. They were understanding and encouraging. Having that engagement throughout my time at ACC really helped me stay on track.”
With the support of his advisors, Corey enrolled in the Human Services program. In fall 2018, Corey transferred to Texas State University to pursue his bachelor’s degree.
“I always knew I’d transfer to a four-year college, but ACC allowed me the flexibility to formulate a degree plan around those goals.”
Corey is one of hundreds of former foster care students who enrolled at ACC.
“Being a foster kid has many challenges that other kids often don't experience. When you are shuffled from place to place, often your entire life lives within a plastic garbage bag. It’s tough.”
ACC’s annual luggage drive supports students like Corey. It provides teens who are transitioning out of foster care their own, personal suitcase.
“It may seem simple, but getting a suitcase meant more to me than I can describe. It gave me a place of my own to pack my things. It gave me a sense of pride and security.”
Since the college’s first luggage drive in 2009, ACC has collected more than 315 pieces of luggage and nearly $4,000 in monetary donations.
Now Corey says he wants to make sure the teens who follow in his footsteps have the same opportunities he was given.
“I am not an in-the-box kind of person. When I graduate, I am keeping my options open. I think that I will do many things under the entire premise of making the world a better place. I believe we are here to serve others. We need to do all we can for our community, family, and ourselves to improve the world.”
To learn more and support ACC’s annual luggage drive, visit austincc.edu/luggagedrive. Donations are accepted through May 6.