College student credits Boysville for helping him overcome obstacles in life

Angelo Gutierrez: Boysville 'is a great community'

By Japhanie Gray - Reporter, Ken Huizar - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - As the local nonprofit Boysville gears up for its Over the Edge fundraiser Saturday, one young man impacted by their services shared his story of success. 

Boysville was born in 1943 and only served boys in foster care, but in 1986, the organization expanded its services to girls. Boysville cares for foster children from birth until they turn 23 years old. 

Angelo Gutierrez, 20, joined Boysville when he was 18. 

"I am from Austin," Gutierrez said. "I got into foster care when I was 15 and was just jumping from placement to placement throughout San Antonio, Houston and Austin." 

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Gutierrez graduated from New Braunfels High School when he aged out of the foster care system. 

"I was introduced to Boysville when I was staying at another supervised independent living program," Gutierrez said. "Ever since I ended up there, it has been great. It is a great community of foster care of all ages." 

Gutierrez said starting off was scary. 

"When you turn 18 in foster care, you have the option of staying in extended care or going out on your own," Gutierrez said. "Once I graduated, I didn't have much. And growing up, I didn't see college as an option." 

Gutierrez said even though he had the option of having his college tuition paid for, he was overwhelmed, but Boysville stepped in at the right time. 

"Being a first-generation student, it was scary, but Boysville helped out a lot," Gutierrez said. "They helped me with getting registered and everything at Texas A&M San Antonio." 

Gutierrez studies kinesiology and is a part of the SIL program at the college. His biggest passions are meeting new people, writing, being creative and working out. He said through his struggles, he's learned a lot. 

"Living with other foster kids from different backgrounds, you meet so many amazing people," Gutierrez said. "I made so many friends, and even the staff works hard to get you where you need to be. 
They really care about you as an individual." 

Gutierrez said he is now a more confident person. 

"It helps you have that confidence in your security, and you feel more prepared to grow and experience new things," Gutierrez said. "I have turned into a way more social person, and I do enjoy getting to know people. Probably back then, I was a lot less secure in the person who I thought I was. I think I have been able to grow into a way more confident person, and having that team behind you that does want the best for you, it does help you, like, be more brave in your life."

Gutierrez said he hopes his story can impact others, as well.

"When you have your mind right and you can see towards your future, like, nothing can really get in your way from there," Gutierrez said. "Being in foster care and struggling, you learn how to go overcome obstacles and have your own values you can, like, stick to. I think Boysville is easily one of the best foster care communities offered here in Texas. I always tell myself, 'Do the best that I can for myself so I can do the best I can for others.' That's what I live by, and I would encourage others to do the same."

Several people Saturday are expected to rappel off the Embassy Suites Hotel by the River Walk to raise money for Boysville. Each person or group raised $1,000 to participate. Last year, officials said they did the jump for the first time and over 50 people participated, raising around $80,000. This year, Boysville is partnering with Witte Museum, hoping to raise $100,000. 

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