Barry Bartlett spent 16 years in California's foster care system
Barry Bartlett is finding ways to combine his experiences, interests and talents for a unique approach to connecting with foster youth.
When he was just a little guy - four years old, his parents abandoned him. From then on, he bounced around from living with one of his family members, then another without ever knowing what was next, never having stable housing. Then, when he was in fifth grade, Barry experienced another abandonment when family members who were supposed to be there for him released him to the foster care system. He had major feelings of resentment, insecurity, and deep loneliness. For a brief time, he moved in with his grandmother, but things did not improve. Eventually, Barry emancipated and is now living in the United Friends of the Children's Pathways Transitional Living Program. He is working hard to become self-sufficient, working at Starbucks, continuing in school, and determined to make a better life for himself.
Today, 22 year old Barry is enrolled in college, looking towards an career in the entertainment industry. He is a talented dance, singer and actor. Although he has some interest in pursuing a career in law and is exploring steps it will take to achieve both career goals, Barry's talent as an entertainer has set him apart.
Barry is a dynamic speaker. He makes connections with youth all over the State of California as he shares his personal story of his 16 years in care. He has participated in a number of leadership opportunities. Most recently, he completed a year-long internship at the Alliance for Children's Rights as a peer advocate for their NextStep program. He attended the Foster youth educational summit in Sacramento where he connected with Californian foster youth to advocate for foster youth on a state level. He also volunteers to speak at Children's Institute where he shares his story to provide insight to social workers and therapists working in foster care.
Barry wants to use his talent and experiences to better the lives of foster youth and says he will not stop until he sees change happening.