Jennifer Nguyen spent 1 year and 9 months in California's Foster Care System.

Jennifer was placed into foster care at the age of sixteen; her sophomore year of high school. In less than 2 years in care she experienced six different placements. Jennifer is currently living on her own by working while she attends college. She is currently enrolled at De Anza Community College with plans to attain her Associates Degree before transferring to a 4-year institution. Jennifer is considering majoring in business with a concentration in international business as she is both bilingual and multi-racial. Jennifer believes that though difficult at times, being in foster care led to opportunities. She says, “Being in the foster care system has been a positive experience for me because, although at that time of my life I felt like there was no way out, it has led to many doors-- that in time-- could be opened; and I was the one that held that key to open those doors.” Some of these doors were leadership and volunteer experiences, including Youth Revolution, Safe Place Community Outreach and Children’s Research Hospital. Jennifer says of her advocacy work, “It is so important that young people in foster care, like myself, have an opportunity to improve the issues in the foster care system and more importantly, to support their peers in foster care because it is simply the right thing to do. After going through so much and being under circumstances that have made us feel worthless, lonely, and feeling as though we do not have a voice; what better way could we be heard other then coming together as one, working together as one, and feeling good about ourselves. Because after all, we ARE worth it, we HAVE each other, and we HAVE a voice. A voice that should be heard."

Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2011 Outstanding Young Leaders