TAMPA, Fla. - It can be hard for teens aging out of foster care who want to go to college. The Knighten family has found purpose in helping these teens get a leg up.
Bernetta and Earl Knighten are giving a hand up to foster teens heading to college.
"Our motto is this all it can take is one opportunity, one chance, one giving of ourselves that could change someone's life and their trajectory for their life," said Bernetta.
They are helping foster teens make the transition to college with their Packing With A Purpose College Bound drive.
"We want to be that first step to give them a suitcase with everything that they need to get started," said Bernetta. "Things that they don't even know that they will need. So, we just want to be that hand."
The duo started The Knighten Project in 2004 as a grassroots effort to give back to the foster community.
"The Knighten Project is an organization where we collect brand new suitcases for children aging out of foster care and fill them with everyday essentials to help them transition into adulthood," added Bernetta.
This year they wanted to make a special effort to help foster children who have aged out of the system and are heading to college.
"By us doing this whether it's one suitcase," said Earl. "Whether it's a tablet, a towel, it's a blessing that we are able to give them so that they can understand that someone does care about them and want to see them progress in life."
The luggage is filled with essentials. For Earl, it's the family's obligation to help teens transition into a positive future.
"Everyone needs an opportunity, everyone needs a chance and I think by us doing this we are giving them an opportunity are a chance to brighten up their day and say, ‘OK, there is a better tomorrow.’"
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