3 years in Foster Care
25 years old
Brandy Starks is working toward a Master’s in Social Work at Florida International University. Having previously earned an undergraduate degree in Exceptional Student Education (K-12) from Miami Dade College, Brandy plans to create a center that provides educational and family services to underserved communities. She launched a program called Tutoring With Opportunity (TWO) during the coronavirus pandemic, which provided tutoring services to students and worked with their parents in an effort to help bridge the parent-student-community gap. Her goal is provide tutoring services that are not limited to academics, but improve the overall wellbeing of students, their families, and other life-learners.
Brandy has served as a Changemaker Peer Mentor through Miami Dade College and Educate Tomorrow, and currently serves as a lead resident at FIU, where she helps students create positive community experiences while completing their academic journeys. As a member of the Youth Advisory Committee for Our Kids of Dade and Monroe Independent Living in Miami, Brandy ensured that the needs of her fellow foster youth were being met.
Brandy was in foster care for three years. She has developed skills as a tutor and peer mentor, which she uses to give back to her community by guiding others through challenges similar to those she sometimes had to navigate herself on her own. Brandy feels that her experiences in foster care helped to shape the person she is becoming, and firmly believes that she can learn from her challenges to build her character. She embodies the idea of making lemonade out of lemons, and wants to use her experiences and perspectives to help ensure that other young people in foster care have every opportunity to reach their potential.