Inspiring Foster Care Glow-Ups

#Glowup has taken over social media. People are telling the stories of how they overcame childhood adversity (or just bad school photos) and blossomed into the people they are today.

Many youth in foster care already feel like the deck is stacked against them. But having a challenging childhood doesn’t exclude someone from having a happy and successful future. Though not everyone in foster care goes on to be famous, here are some whose stories prove that childhood circumstances don’t have to define anyone’s life.


Eleanor Roosevelt

First Lady/Activist

Though born into a wealthy family, Eleanor’s parents died when she was young, leaving her grandmother to raise her until she began boarding school at the age of 15. Despite her difficulties, she became a social worker, got involved with the League of Women voters, and went on to become the First Lady of the United States and an advocate for racial, economic and gender equality.

Tom Monaghan

Fast Food Giant

When Tom’s father died when he was four years old, he and his brother were placed in foster care so their mother could attend nursing school. They returned home after seven years, but Tom’s relationship with his mother remained strained through his childhood. He struggled in school, graduating at the bottom of his high school class and later dropped out of college. After being expelled from Catholic seminary and spending some time in the Marine Corps, he and his brother bought a failing pizza parlor in for $975. That venture went on to become the Domino's Pizza franchise.

Nelson Mandela

Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Nelson Mandela’s father passed away when he was 9 years old and was placed in the care of a tribal leader. Though his life was marked by struggle, most notably his 21-year exile for his involvement in the Anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, he returned and became the country’s Prime Minister. He left a legacy of spearheading the end of systemic segregation in South Africa and promoting global peace efforts.

Simone Biles


Simone and her three siblings entered foster care at age five due to her mother's substance abuse. After three years in traditional foster care, they moved from Ohio to live with their grandparents in Texas, eventually being adopted. Under their care, Simone fell in love with gymnastics and, through years of hard work and dedication, won multiple gold medals at the 2016 Olympics.

Sylvester Stallone

Award-Winning Actor/Screenwriter/Director

Sylvester's parents had a very volatile relationship. He spent most of the first five years of his life in foster care before his family moved from New York to Maryland. They eventually divorced, and Sylvester frequently acted out in school. He was expelled several times and moved from his father’s house to Philadelphia with his mother. He fell in love with acting, and after spending years as a underemployed actor in New York, wrote, directed and starred in the film Rocky, which won three Academy Awards and launched a successful film career.

You can share your own glow up story with us! Just tag us on Twitter (@OurCornerstones) with the hashtag #GlowUp.

Interested in making a difference in the life of a child? Join us for an informational session to learn about foster care.