Dameika Merriwether spent 6 years in Michigan's foster care system.

Dameika Merriwether is a tribute to the strength and determination of youth in foster care. Since she entered care at the age of 13, she has experienced four foster care home placements, six weeks of homeless couch surfing, seven months of maintaining her own apartment and is now living in a dorm room at college. The challenges she has faced would be daunting to many, but Dameika has faced her challenges head on and is succeeding, personally, academically, and socially.

Dameika has demonstrated outstanding leadership and maintains a clear sense of purpose with respect to her outlook on her life and her future. Dameika has served as her Youth Board's Vice-President for the last year, as a speaker at events including Ingham County Women's Commission, Women's Opportunity House, Child Welfare Training Institute, a focus group hosted by Wayne State University, and the annual Mental Health Breakfast. She was a workshop presenter at a Daniel Memorial Institute in Orlando and served as inventory chair for all four fundraising activities at Michigan State University Breslin Center over this past year.

Throughout her foster care turmoil, during her leadership roles, and balancing her part time employment, Dameika has maintained her A average in all classes. She is a National Honor Society Honoree, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc Dellta Tau Omega Chapter 2013 Scholarshhip Winner, 2012-2013 High Academic Achievement Award, 2013 President's Education Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence. Dameika is attending Western Michigan University as a Seita Scholar, and plans to earn a law degree with a goal to serve and protect other youth who grow up in foster care.

Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2014 Outstanding Young Leaders