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Phoenix CEO who lived in foster care helps transform local foster program

(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Kinnerup)

PHOENIX — The CEO of a Phoenix realty group who grew up in foster care helped transform a local job development program center for foster kids on Thursday.

Maria Hinderleider, CEO of Keller Williams Biltmore Partners, was in foster care from when she was 6 months old until she was 18.

She was one of the first young adults to age out of the Arizona Independent Living Program when it was only a pilot, learning the skills she needed to continue with her life outside the foster care system.

A similar program — the Real World job development program at The Jewish Family and Children’s Service in Phoenix — was the target of the realty group’s benevolence on its annual day of community service.

Linda Scott, vice president of child and family solutions at The Jewish Family and Children’s Service, said the Real World program is designed to help those aged 16 to 24 smoothly transition out of the foster care system.

“Most of the young people getting services here at the Real World are in group homes, not foster families,” she said.

“We’re focused on education, readiness for the work force, getting basic job skills under their belt.”

Hinderleider said she felt that refurbishing the center was “pretty impactful” due to her own upbringing.

“All in one day, we’re taking 7,000 square feet of space and we’re giving it a whole new look,” she said.

“Imagine, by providence, that I should … have the opportunity in one day to completely transform a center servicing youth that are going to be on the same journey that I myself took many years ago without services like this.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report.

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