TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Animals and people are two things La’Rey, 17, is passionate about.
“I like dogs, they make me happy,” said La’Rey.
Her desire to help animals and children has inspired a path for her future as an adult.
“I want to go to college because I want to be a social worker,” said La’Rey. “I don't like to see lots of hatred and kids and animals being abused and not having homes or food and water.”
For the better part this teen's life, she had no idea what it was like to live in a safe place.
“Life before this was very hard,” said La’Rey. “My life was just very abusive.”
That abuse set her back a few years in school.
“I'm in the 10th grade,” La’Rey said. “I'm three years behind and I’m trying to catch up.”
La’Rey said it is very important she finds a family that supports and encourages her education.
“It would mean everything to me because in school I'm being called slow, stupid, retarded,” La’Rey said. “It's not my fault that I'm three years behind. I'm trying to catch up.”
For teens in protective care, the biggest fear is aging out of the system.
“I already signed a contract for extended foster care so I am going to stay in CPS when I turn 18,” said La’Rey.
For La'Rey, the opportunity to stay into her early twenties gives her valuable time to find the forever family who will be willing to help her into adulthood.
“I don't know everything about being an adult so if I were to leave CPS right now it wouldn't do me any good, i'm going to be stuck,” said La’Rey.
One thing La'rey dreams of is a household rooted in faith.
“God will always have something good for you,” said La’Rey.
She said her relationship with God lifts her from her troubles.
“I'm not worrying about if someone is going to kidnap me, rape me, whatever I'm not worried about that,” said La’Rey. “And if I feel like I might not be safe, I pray to him and it's over.”
Her optimism remains that her future will get better.
“A lot of the bad things that happen in life, it makes you stronger,” said La’Rey.