StoryCorps Detroit Podcast: “Much better than everything people said you were”

A college senior reflects on how far she’s come since foster care.

WDET/Candice Fortman

Jennifer Smith is the founder of Closing the Gap, a nonprofit that uses personalized mentorship to help Detroit students enter and make their way through college. At a college fair, high school senior Ruletta Street caught her eye.

Street entered into foster care as a teenager, was transferred from school to school, and didn’t have the best grades… but that day she told Smith that she wanted to graduate and go to college.

Smith took Street under her wing and became her mentor. Now Street is about to enter her senior year at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

In this excerpt of her interview with her mentor, she realizes how far she’s come since the time they met.

Click on the player at the top of this page to hear the interview in the first episode of the StoryCorps Detroit podcast. You can subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.




  • Sascha Raiyn
    Sascha Raiyn is Education Reporter at 101.9 WDET. She is a native Detroiter who grew up listening to news and music programming on Detroit Public Radio.
  • Laura Herberg
    Laura Herberg is a Reporter for 101.9 WDET, telling the stories about people inhabiting the Detroit region and the issues that affect us here.