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Aaron Sutton knows how difficult the transition process can be. He knows what its like to be standing in the rain with two garbage bags full of his possessions with nowhere to go and no one to call. But he also knows the power of his story, and he knows the power of sharing it with other kids.

While he used to be shy and reluctant to speak, he’s grown to realize how important it is to get the word out that, as he says, “what won’t kill me will only make me stronger and make my story much more interesting.” Aaron Sutton experienced thirteen years of foster care. Over his fifteen placements, he describes himself as one of those kids who “made a lot of caseworkers and group-home staff work for their money.”

From his first placement, at the age of 5, where he was “blinded by all the toys and food,” to his last, which he describes as “terrible, I wasn’t the same happy little five-year-old” —Aaron maintained his hope and optimism, qualities he hopes to use to inspire other foster youth now. While he describes himself as someone who has been a part of “just about every statistic or label that could be place on a foster youth—or any youth for that matter,” Aaron stresses the “importance having a positive attitude regardless of how many curves or road block life brings your way.” And he knows how powerful it is for foster youth to get that message from other kids who have experienced foster care.

“The youth voice is the key ingredient to the recipe for change, because if we don’t speak out, who will?” he says. “I still feel the urge to press on and hope for a better outcome.” Aaron Sutton is currently a college student, with plans to achieve a Bachelors Degree in Business Management and a Masters in I.O.Psychology. He is part of the Georgia Youth Opportunity Initiative Executive Board and ensures the voice of youth is represente. Working in the capactiy of a Board member he hopes to improve outcomes in the areas of education, stability and legislative decisions. His input is invaluable.