Stories of Hope

Meet Sahoutah Carey-Lanier: nurturing Futures, Defying labels

A Journey from Foster Child to Together for Youth Leader

In the heart of Together for Youth, Sahoutah Carey-Lanier, Supervisor of TFY’s Gloversville Group Home, stands as a beacon of compassion and resilience. Her journey, born in the foster care system, weaves through adversity, shaping her into a dedicated force at the group home, where she passionately molds the futures of youth in care.

Sahoutah’s early years were steeped in uncertainty and challenges within the foster care system. Navigating an uncertain path, she initially avoided any connection with the system that defined her childhood. Fate, however, had different plans. Celebrating her fifth year with Together for Youth, Sahoutah’s journey began as a direct care staff member, overcoming hesitations to step into this transformative chapter of her life.

Sahoutah on a park bench dressed in black clothes, smiling.

As a direct care supervisor, Sahoutah’s daily mission revolves around imparting vital life skills to the youth under her guidance. Cooking becomes a lesson in independence, and individual programs serve as roadmaps to self-discovery. She can draw from her past personal experiences to understand the pain-based behaviors they exhibit.

Beyond her professional role, Sahoutah wears the hats of a proud mother and grandmother, extending her care not only to her biological children but also to those embraced through the foster care system. Reflecting on her unexpected journey, she humorously acknowledges that life led her to a place she initially sought to avoid, stating, “Everything that I ran from, I ended up doing.”

Sahoutah’s connection with these youth surpasses conventional roles; they affectionately call her “grandma.” Her approach involves genuine conversations, active listening, and sharing her journey of overcoming challenges. Encouraging youth to embrace mistakes as part of life, she inspires them to be the best versions of themselves each day.

The stigma attached to youth in group homes and those labeled as juvenile delinquents deeply troubles Sahoutah. Both within and outside TFY’s walls, she actively works to dismantle this stigma, utilizing her genuine care and deep empathy as powerful tools against societal judgments.

In her five-year journey with Together for Youth, Sahoutah’s evolution from direct care staff to supervisor showcases unwavering dedication. Her impact transcends professional duties as she imparts life skills and fosters resilience. Drawing from personal experiences, Sahoutah’s empathy guides interactions, helping youth rise above societal labels.

Reflecting on her path, Sahoutah recognizes this field as her true passion. Her past, once marked by trauma and uncertainty, now serves as a source of strength and understanding. Speaking a revelation aloud for the first time, she shares, “This is where I am supposed to be. I needed that time to heal from the traumatized child in care.”

Sahoutah’s journey with Together for Youth transcends professional ascent; it’s a narrative of healing and growth. She has found her true calling in making a positive impact on the lives of those she serves. TFY expresses profound gratitude for having Sahoutah as an invaluable team member, a beacon of hope for the lives of youth in care.