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Back-To-School: Former foster child beats the odds, plans to attend college

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While moms and dads across the midstate prepare to send their children off to college, some students are taking on their next chapter with no parents to help them.

FOX 17 News' Erika Kurre spoke to a student who beat the odds stacked against her.

Incoming college student Raygan Bean never thought she would take a walk across a college campus and call it her own.

"I don't even know what to expect," Bean said. "It's just a whole different environment."

She said she has spent the past three years of her life in and out of foster care, bouncing from home to home and facility to facility, after she was separated from her mother and sisters.

"I did have a very traumatic past. I’ve been through a lot," Bean reflected.

When Raygan finished high school, she said she never through she could go to college. It wasn't until someone convinced her to apply that it was even on her radar. Officials say that's the case for so many children when they age out of foster care at 18.

According to Youth Villages, former foster children typically don't pursue higher education.

The organization said many foster children end up not being adopted and tend to struggle financially with no family to fall back on.

"A lot of them have been in such traumatic lives and had such traumatic things happen to them," Youth Villages LifeSet Supervisor Hannah Newbill said. "So, they just don't believe it's possible that they can have these dreams and get there."

Newbill has helped Bean through Youth Villages LifeSet, a foster care extension program.

Bean is set to start school at Middle Tennessee State University in the fall with the help of counselors through every step along the way from the application process to dorm room arrangements. She told Fox 17 News she wants to be a child psychologist, so she can help other children how she has been helped.

"We all have potential that people don't see the majority of the time because they hear war stories about what we've been through, and they think that's what defines us but it's really not," Bean said.

LifeSet plans to provide her with school supplies that have been donated by companies and people throughout Middle Tennessee.

But, there's one thing that was not donated: Bean's determination to beat the odds stacked against her.

"Just to know you've worked so hard to get here, it's really exciting. I'm proud of myself," Bean commented.

Youth Villages said they are currently helping about 1,000 children across the state of Tennessee.

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