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Creating Her Own Future


When you meet Tornyha, you are immediately struck by her shy smile and quiet demeanor. But as you get to know her, it’s clear that Tornyha is motivated to set and meet her goals.

Tornyha came to live at Crossnore just over three years ago. It was her first placement in foster care, and it was hard. Tornyha says, “It was a hard adjustment when I got here. I had to switch schools and I wasn’t very motivated.”

Growing at Crossnore

During her years on campus, Tornyha has learned a lot. She says she has seen kids come and go and staff change from time to time and that she’s had to learn to go with the flow. “I like all the people at Crossnore,” Tornyha says with a smile. “They are helpful to us if we need something or if something is wrong.”

When asked about living at Crossnore, Tornyha said, “In the cottages, we build relationships as a family. The staff helps us even when they are having to build new relationships. It’s all about safety for us to get to know each other.”

Tornyha says her favorite thing during her time at Crossnore has been the trips. She says, “It’s like a sleepover, but for a whole week,” and reports that Dollywood was her favorite trip.

Taking charge of her life.

Despite being unmotivated upon her arrival at Crossnore, Tornyha decided about a year ago to take charge of her life. She finished high school early, graduating in January 2020. She has worked at McDonald’s for three years and is saving to be able to live independently someday.

As a graduation present, all Crossnore seniors receive a “new-to-them” car. Tornyha is excited about receiving her 2014 Kia Forte and the additional freedom that comes with that responsibility. She is working with her case manager to get her driver’s license, purchase her car insurance, and get her license plate, just more steps on the road to her independence.

After graduation in January, Tornyha started classes at Forsyth Technical Community College. Tornyha is starting with her CNA class with a long-term goal of majoring in nursing or psychology. “I know I want to help people. I just need to figure out the best way to do that,” she said.

Seeing a promising future ahead.

Neil Barrett is Tornyha’s case manager and has worked with her in the last year. Neil said, “Tornyha is a hard worker. She has grown a lot in her years at Crossnore and now sees a future for herself outside of foster care. Tornyha knows she can attain her goals and is looking forward to getting back to school when the current crisis is over.”

All in all, Tornyha says being at Crossnore “has been hard and good. I’ve met people I probably wouldn’t have met. It’s been a balance between wishing I was back at home and knowing that it’s been good for me to be here.”

That’s a balance even the most mature of us have to manage sometimes. And, it’s a joy to see Tornyha figuring it out at such a young age. It’s clear she’s motivated now to make a bright future for herself.