The youth-written stories in YCteen give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Teacher Lesson Return to "Maxed Out"
Maxed Out
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Xavier Reyes writes about how he ran up a huge credit card debt after he left foster care, and how he has since been able to get his finances under better control.

Prompts for discussion and/or writing:

--Why does Xavier get a credit card?

--What kinds of things does he end up buying with it? What things did he need, and what things were luxuries he couldn’t afford?

--Why does he run up such a large debt?

--Do you think it should be harder for a young person to get a credit card? Why or why not?

--What should Xavier have done instead? Not get a credit card at all? Or use his card differently?

--Write a short note to Xavier, explaining what you’ve learned from his article.

--Are youth ready to leave the system at 18? What about 21? What can be done to help foster youth who are aging out?

Activity #1: Youth can work in pairs or in small groups. Have each group pretend they will age out of the system in one year or less. They are to come up with a list of five things they fear about aging out (for example, not having a job, not knowing how to rent an apartment) and five things they can do in the next year to deal with those fears and prepare for aging out. Go around the room, list the suggestions on the board, and discuss.

Activity #2: Youth can work in pairs or in small groups. Xavier learned to understand the difference between things he needed (rent, food) and things he didn’t need (Adidas clothing, DVD player, etc.). Have each group come up with a list of things they need to buy and luxuries they can go without. Go around the room, list the suggestions on the board, and discuss.
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[Other Teacher Resources]
(FCYU-2001-07-22)

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