Spent 4 years in Utah's foster care system

Angelica Gomez says that by her second year of being in foster care - she was nine- she knew what worked and what didn't work, what would fix her problems and what wouldn't. She explains that youth in care can bring the most beneficial changes to the system. "We've actually been through it, and know what it is like. People who are on the other side of our experiences do not actually know what we go through..." "if we are given the opportunity to improve the foster care system and our voices are heard, it is a way of supporting our peers who are still in the foster care system all around the states."

To augment her experience in care, Angelica hopes to receive her Master's Degree and become a social worker with hopes of working with children and teens in foster care.

Angelica entered the foster care system at age eight and encountered both loving and dysfunctional foster families. She experienced great hurt and distrust being separated from her biofamily, devastation and confusion being torn from a loving foster family, disappointment when placed with an unstable and rude family and finally, some security and peace in her last placement at age 12.

During those years, Angelica says that her greatest challenge was learning to trust the very people she blamed for her plight, her social workers and her foster parents. She put up walls so that even the people who could have helped were shut out. Eventually, she gained a better and stronger relationship with two of her foster families, who support, care and love her.

A leader of her peers, Angelica has been president of USU Eastern Upward Bound Program two years in a row, was chosen to initiate service projects for Utah Network SUN Center, served as an On-Campus Residential Advisor (RA).

Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2013 Outstanding Young Leaders