Isaiah Dorty, 25, North Carolina’s Foster Care System

Isaiah experienced many placements while in care and he feels it well equipped him to advocate and inspire youth in the system to overcome and rise above whatever past trauma they have suffered through.

Throughout his years in high school and college, Isaiah has taken part in several volunteer activities. One of his favorites was with Foster Care to Success (F2S) and Aim Higher. He met other successful foster care youth and learned how social media can influence current conditions in foster care and the importance of postsecondary education. As an Aim Higher Fellow, he used video and social media to engage foster parents, social workers, mentors, and employers on foster youth education and employment and how it impacts foster youth transition to adulthood. 

In College, he served as Creative Director and Overseer of the New Designer Showcase at Winston Salem State University. The New Designer Showcase is a yearly show that the university delegates to a chosen student each year to allow them to put together their own production. Isaiah was to put on a fashion show where he found 13 designers from around the world and 36 models from campus. He researched social media for months finding designers that fit the theme and concept that he desired and as a result; they awarded him the Best Fashion Award from his college. Isaiah also received the Best Speaker award when he attended LINKS; A conference that represents and advocates for foster youth. He was a chairperson for the organization and he spoke on behalf of the foster youth during different conferences and meetings with policymakers and social workers. 

“Working with foster youth can be very challenging. Having to gain trust from a person who has endured pain in their life can be difficult but with the right mindset and a good heart, anything can happen.”