- 61-year-old Guy Bryant has been a foster father to over 50 young men in the last 12 years
- The Brooklyn-born resident became a foster parent while working for years as a community coordinator for New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services
- Bryant sat in an interview to reflect on his childhood, which he feels influenced who he has become today
A 61-year-old man identified as Guy Bryant has become a noble example for fostering over 50 young men in the past 12 years and for helping young men who have aged out of the foster care system.
The Brooklyn native works as a community coordinator for New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services, which brought him to becoming a foster parent himself.
In an interview, Bryant reflects on his childhood, which he feels influenced who he has become today.
Bryant grew up in Brooklyn with his mom and aunts all under one roof. Bryant and his cousins were always running around the house along with other kids from the neighbourhood and they were always doing something in the community.
“There’s definitely a connection. My family was always willing to help other people. Especially one of my aunts. She was on a community board. So if there was a youth in trouble, she would always try to help him,” he said in the interview.
His career began some 40 years ago when he worked as an educational assistant in New York.
He went on to become a house parent at an all-boys' group home in Queens before finding himself working in his current position, where he’s been for the last 32 years, assisting 18 to 21-year-olds in their transition out of the foster care system, by providing housing, employment and mental and physical health services.
In 2007, one of the young men Bryant was working with asked if he could take him in. He agreed and before he knew it, he had 9 boys living with him.
Bryant says the most important thing in fostering children is building that trust and rapport with them.
He said, “The [most] difficult thing about building trust is their past interactions with adults. They constantly need to be reinforced that ‘I am here. I am going to do what I say.’ My kids will tell you whatever I say, I’m going to do for you. I always do it because I don’t want you to look at me like one of those adults who let you down.”
His goal is to just create a safe space for these children and provide them with a loving and supportive home. Bryant spends time with the boys, planning fishing trips, cooking with them and just being the person they can count on.
“The Mr. Bryant approach is I love you regardless,” he said. “You could become a brain surgeon or you could be a bathroom cleaner, it doesn’t matter. Once you come into my home and you’ve been with me and you’ve been here, you’re my kid for life… You’ll always have a bed to come to, a shower to take — you’ll always be able to come home. This is home.”
We’re not crying. You’re crying. The world needs more Mr. Bryants.
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