Ian spent 3 years in Washington's Foster Care System.
A witty writer, engaging public speaker, and college freshman, Ian is earning quite an outstanding reputation for the work he does on behalf of youth in foster care. Ian respects the impact being in foster care has had on him, and he is able to communicate that to his audiences. “For good or ill, foster care made me who I am today,” Ian says. “It taught me self-reliance and the value of dignity and respect. Even the negative experiences I had in foster care have motivated me to create change in the world around me, giving me a calling and the knowledge to pursue it.” Ian knows change will require the time and voices of many. “Foster youth are a fairly small contingent in a very large and competitive political arena. We must amplify our voice to be heard. And we cannot use a very effective tool for social change that some other youth can: we cannot leverage the social capital of our parents. We have a duty, both to ourselves and to future generations of foster youth, to do the best we can to fix the system,” he says. Ian is currently enrolled in an independent living program, although he prefers to call it a “growing up program.” He says, “Growing up involves seeking out people, groups, and organizations and becoming part of them; developing a sense of responsibility and duty toward both one's self and the wider community; and the daily things: cooking, cleaning, and so on.” Ian has a variety of hobbies including reading, especially sci-fi, arithmetic, retro video games, and participating in online forum arguments. When asked what his goals are, Ian responds with a quote from Robert Heinlein: "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." If he has to be specific, however, his more immediate goals are to complete his Bachelors degree, possibly pursue his Master’s in Public Administration, and eventually run his own advocacy organization.