Statewide program gives back to youth on Christmas

FAIRMONT, W.Va (WDTV) - In the season of giving, one organization is doing what they can to make sure those who have aged out of the foster care system still have a way to celebrate Christmas.

Edmond Harvey grew up in the Charleston area, where throughout his childhood he lived with various foster families.

"Growing up it was a lot of difficult times, but the difficult times made me appreciate the things I have now," Harvey said.

Harvey lived with different families starting at a young age, still going to school, and working to get to college to start a life for himself.

"My parents were really hard drug addicts and they had problems with drugs," Harvey said. "Financially it was another problem -- we were not really financially stable."

Now a student and student athlete at Fairmont State, Harvey is pursuing a degree with just a semester to go until graduation.

"Now with having my schooling paid for and being able to go to a great university and experience some great things, I just cannot believe that I'm here right now," Harvey said.

With the holiday season as its peak, Harvey is one who is benefiting from the MODIFY Program, which aims to bring gifts to those who have aged out of the foster care system.

"We help youth that have aged out of the West Virginia child welfare system go to college, live independently, and get on a trajectory toward independence," said Tina Faber with the MODIFY Program.

Through her work, Faber has been able to interact with hundreds of kids throughout the entire state -- building bonds with young adults like Edmond.

"A lot of people don't consider that older youth really deserve love and attention too," Faber said.

For Edmond, having those like Tina mean the world to him.

"It's really nice to know that someone thinks of you, cares for you, and are here with you throughout the holidays, like Tina," Harvey said.