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James Monroe spent 6 years in California's Foster Care System.

James was in the foster care system for about 6 years, between the ages of 12 and 18. His stay in care included 6 different placements; one of them three times. James emancipated at 18 and has been on his own ever since. He says of his time in foster care, “If I had not been exposed to the foster care system, I would not be in the position or be the person I am today. I have learned how to deal with obstacles and struggles as well as diversity amongst other people. I believe being the underdog and a statistic made me push myself harder. I feel I had a positive impact on a lot of my foster care peers as well as others in the community.” James excelled in high school, winning multiple scholastic and athletic awards and achievements. He currently attends California State University of Monterey Bay, where he is majoring in Collaborative Health and Human Services (CHHS) and plans to continue his education to at least a Masters Degree. James’ leadership and volunteer activites include being part of the Transitional Housing Placement Plus (THP-PLUS) youth board, a program providing affordable housing and other services for emancipated foster youth. He has also participated in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), Peer Leaders Leadership Camp, and was a Peer Mediator. James’ long term plans are to work with current and/or transitioning foster youth by being an advocate and support system after they have been removed from their family. James says, “Our youth are our future and individuals that are faced with struggles can contribute enormously. “ When he is not attending school or working part-time, James likes to go to the gym, play basketball, listen to music, dance, and ride his motorcycle.