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Watch: How One Former Foster Youth Beat the Odds and Is Giving Back

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Watch: How One Former Foster Youth Beat the Odds and Is Giving Back

Each year, over 800 Arizonans are thrust out of the foster care system and into the world to make it on their own. Many go straight to homelessness. Others struggle with incarceration, unemployment, substance abuse and educational difficulties.

Despite the hardships, some of these young adults go on to be successful, thriving individuals who want to improve the odds for others.

David Barton, who goes by Dax, is one of them.

Dax entered the Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) Real World Job Development program when he was 14 and again when he was 16. He aged out of foster care at 19. Now, at age 32 and owner of Clymb Business Solutions, Dax is giving back to the program he credits as being instrumental in his journey out of foster care and into the challenges of the real world.

Watch Dax’s story via this 6-minute video or read the transcript below.

The JFCS Real World Job Development program serves youth ages 14 to 24 who are in the Maricopa County foster care system or were at the time they turned 16. To learn more, visit the Real World Job Development page of our website. To make a donation to the program, visit our donation page and select “Real World Job Development” as the designation.


Dax Barton: Hi, my name is David, I go by Dax. I entered the JFCS Real World Job Development program when I was 14 and again when I was 16. I am now 32 and this is my business Clymb.

I had a really rough life growing up once I was put under guardianship by Arizona courts. A lot of CPS cases, a lot of police reports a lot of ignoring me. I was under a lot of medication as well. With services at JFCS, and due to a recommendation of my psychiatrist at the time, I was put in JFCS and the Job Development program to give me some after school activities and a place to go that wasn't just what I wanted to do.

The JFCS Job Development program unlocked a lot of skills that I didn't realize I had in me. A lot of the technical aptitude that I had for the world that I just didn't have a chance to practice or play around with. The ability to program and understand different languages. I didn't have a chance to utilize a computer until I went to JFCS, and then realized I was a pro.

So, I left the JFCS Job Development program around the age of 19, 20, and life still was difficult. I had limited resources, I wasn't quite ready to leave everything behind but it was kind of my shoe out of the nest moment. Studied really hard; went to GCC (Glendale Community College); worked a full-time job; went back to school again; got three or four different certifications. I was probably burning about 80 to 100 hours a week just trying to make it to the next stage. I had convinced myself that if I didn't stop, then I could move forward. And that was the most difficult thing was getting out of bed every day, not knowing if you had enough strength to continue for that day, but just convincing yourself that you did every single morning.

And after about four years, I finally got to a place where I didn't wake up every morning questioning whether or not the day was going to kill me or not. I got confident in work. Granted, work was always my escape, but I got confident in work and life. I finally achieved a balance. I stopped being a workaholic and diving into work and was able to start living a little.

So, a few years ago on Christmas Eve, I ended up going on a date. Completely random, spur of the moment. Ended up walking across the street to the park, the Steele Indian School Park, and for the next three hours we talked. And now, three years later, we're actually engaged and going to get married soon. But it's because of him that I was able to accomplish so much in the last few years.

Together, we've created Clymb to really provide every single business resource and solve every business need in one place. We partner with more than 1000 different business-centric providers. We negotiate pricing for all of our members to where they don't have to do that. We can act as an agent, we can act as a representative, we can act as a support. But in the end, a business can receive all of the resources they need, all of the services they need for every department, and we help them integrate it. We make sure that they're doing it efficiently, we make sure that they're doing it safely, and we make it possible for them to have everything they need, everything that they want, without paying a ridiculous price.

So, as we're expanding, we wanted to give back to the Job Development program in a few different ways. So not only do we have our donation box here at the counter that every customer can donate their change, we also provide a percentage of our revenue and profit directly to the Job Development program. We also host interns and we can provide them skills training within mailing and shipping and freight, cloud services, payment technology, HR and accounting. And we work with a lot of different small businesses to make that happen. We'll also be promoting that program to our general business customers to try and get more people to host an intern.

If I had any advice for someone in the program, a participant or someone going into the program, or even a child that has a difficult life, the one thing that I would say is be stubborn. Your stubbornness is the one thing that will save you. When I say that, I mean be stubborn for positive, not for negative. Take every resource given to you and take advantage of each and every one, because those will be what saves you. That's what you can rely on.