Home Sweet Home: How one man changed the lives of 50 foster teens originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com
For many teens growing up in the foster care system, life isn’t always easy. If they are lucky, they are taken in by people who not only give them a home, but love and support too.
And it was all thanks to one man named Guy Bryant.
“Guy basically opened his doors for me when I needed it most,” said Gregory, one of Guy Bryant’s foster sons.
For 12 years, Guy Bryant has been fostering teens in Brooklyn, New York, and he's gone above and beyond to help kids who need homes.
"I've seen the worse, I've seen kids that come in and they've had no place to live," Guy told "Good Morning America" Friday. "I had a good home. I lived well and my family, we were a family and I think everybody should have family."
Bryant started opening his doors to teens while he was working for the city's Administration for Children’s Services, and realized that older kids in the foster care system were the hardest to place in homes.
“Everyone wants the babies. They’re cute. They’re cuddly,” said Guy, who is currently a foster parent to Ro, Sha, Gregory and Dior.
In the U.S. there are nearly 450,000 children in foster care. Of those kids, there are over 100,000 who are teenagers in need of homes.
“They go from place to place, so they’re raised by a whole bunch of different people and they have a whole bunch of different values,” said Guy. “People don’t want the problems with somebody who is that age.”
Shallah Dawson said he had trouble with the way rules were structured at some of his previous foster homes before moving in with Guy. \
“I was in homes where the fridge was locked. I couldn’t eat when I wanted to,” he said.
Now simple things in Guy’s home like the kitchen is something that Sha is most grateful for.
“Here we have our own space and we can create our own type of family,” he said.
Like Shallah, Gregory bounced from foster home to foster home before he met Guy. He says Guy gave him hope and made him feel like he belonged in his home.
Now, Gregory is enrolled in college and says it wouldn’t have been possible without Guy.
“Meeting Guy was like, ‘Alright, there is someone out there -- there’s still more to gain than to just shut the world off,” he said.
Over the past 12 years, Guy has been a foster parent to more than 50 teens. And he’s given each and every one of them unconditional love and support.
“They know I love them, I tell them all the time,” Guy told “GMA.” “It’s important because some of them have never heard that.”
“We have a strong relationship,” said Guy’s foster son, Romario “Ro” Bassell. “I see everything he does is out of love.”
And many of Guy’s former foster kids agree.
On “GMA,” several of Guy’s former foster kids surprised him to say thank you.
The experience of being a parent to so many foster kids has been humbling for Guy, who says he feels like he just simply filled a need in the system -- something that anyone can fill if they do it the right way.
“You never know what you have to offer until that child comes into your home,” Guy said.