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Foster child uses pain of his past to help others

Foster child uses pain of his past to help othersfoster.PNG

It is not always easy getting over being hurt.

That was what led a woman to contact us about an 18-year-old foster child who is using the pain of his past to help others.

"My grandma always told me, she said, "Don't let people look at you and say, 'Oh, what a poor kid; see what he's gone through.' Let them look at you and say, 'Look at what has happened to him and see what he has done with it,'" Zachary Reinhart said.

Probably no more profound words could have been spoken into Zachary's life. He ended up going through a very troubled childhood. He said he was emotionally abused, kicked out of his home and wound up in foster care.

Zach is using his life experience to help others.

Leeta Crook is the youth volunteer at First City Church where Zach attends services.

"I know a little bit about his story and I know the background a little bit about where he's come from, and to know that he wants to give back now and do for others is just really cool," Crook said.

Zach said it was in church where he has found the courage to rise above his circumstances.

"Praying for forgiveness for someone else may not affect them, but it will always change you as a person," Zach said.

With the help of friends at First City Church, businesses and community partners, he spearheaded a back-to-school bash for the children in care at the My Father's Arrows group foster home.

Zach is president of their youth advisory board. Friends like Kiplin Smith are amazed at his strength and leadership.

"He doesn't let his past define him; he lets God define him. And so, he doesn't worry about the things that might have happened to him before. He just worries about what's happening now and what he can do to be a good person," Kiplin said.

As well as a fun day, they had backpacks and school supplies for the children. They're things so simple, but so very important to a child in foster care.

Zach understands how just the basics are so meaningful; whether it's school supplies, a kind word or a gentle touch.

Leeta is touched by his kindness towards others.

"I think he feels blessed now and wants to see the difference made in other kids' lives," she said.

Zach said it is empathy.

"Being in that situation where I've been emotionally abused and everything like that, it made me want to help other people and make them not feel that same way," Zach said.

You don't have to be around Zach very long to realize that he's an old soul with a calling on his life. He harbors no ill feelings over the things he's suffered. He said that through it all, the one constant has been his faith and while others may have tossed him away, God never forgot him.

"My faith has helped out so much," he said. "It has taught me that even though you hit the bottom, sometimes you have to hit the bottom to realize that God is that rock at the bottom. And then, the only way is up."

Angels In Our Midst is sponsored by Nemours Children's Specialty Care.

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