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

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

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. The day she met Jennifer Smith, Street told her she wanted to graduate and go to college.

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

In this excerpt of her interview with her mentor, Ruletta Street realizes how far she’s come.

Click on the player at the top of this page to hear the interview. You can hear a longer version by downloading the first episode of the StoryCorps Detroit podcast here or wherever you listen. You can also explore more StoryCorps Detroit stories online here.


The StoryCorps Detroit music is by Sam Beaubien.


  • 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.