(Photo Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
When she was a foster youth, four walls could not contain Lexi. She made a habit of running away from group homes and ending up in juvenile hall. Once released, she was back at another group home, plotting her next escape.
From around the age of 14, the Hayward native bounced from home to home, sometimes staying with a friend or her father, until two important life events happened at age 19: She became pregnant and a friend referred her to Beyond Emancipation, an Oakland nonprofit helping foster youths who transition out of the state system at age 21.
The East Oakland nonprofit has played a prominent role in her transformation from a quick-tempered youth to a dedicated and doting single mother, she said in a recent interview.
“Everything changed,” said Lexi, as her 2-year-old daughter played with a toy police car outside their Alameda home. “I cut all ties with old friends, and since then I lived my life for her.”