Nyi Nyi’s life is full of hope and possibilities and promise. He rents a tiny house, loves spending time at the park, and visits with some of his family from time to time. He worked hard to get here.
Nyi Nyi was around 6 years old when he and his family arrived in the country as refugees from Thailand. Years later, he would find himself moving from foster home to foster home. His life at that time was unsettled.
In September of 2019, he became part of DePaul’s Independent Living program. The program provides guidance, compassion, and direction to foster teens navigating the difficult journey from adolescence to adulthood. Guidance, compassion, and direction can come in many forms: career planning, a safe living arrangement, emotional support, meal planning, financial management. During his time in the program, Nyi Nyi, who has autism, has developed his communication skills, learned to be open with his emotions, and planned his career path to become a veterinary technician.
“The personal growth I have witnessed is incredible,” said Becky Bonds, an independent living specialist at DePaul. “He has gone from being a very quiet and shy young man who didn’t want to meet with me, to someone who is more open and communicative and seems to enjoy our time together.”
Nyi Nyi has also marked a monumental milestone—becoming a citizen of the United States of America. With the help of DePaul, his Court Appointed Special Advocate coach, and an attorney, Nyi Nyi completed the necessary steps, including a test and a naturalization ceremony, to become a citizen. The process was not easy, and it took more than a year, but it was a commitment DePaul made to Nyi Nyi and a commitment Nyi Nyi made to himself.
“I appreciate the work that we did together,” said Nyi Nyi.
Nyi Nyi is now part of DePaul’s Transition to Adulthood Services program, designed to help young adults shift to greater independence with less intense support. He is proud to be a citizen and proud of the path he has built.