After entering foster care at age 14, Jennifer was moved to several different placements, eventually becoming separated from both of her siblings. She says, "The most difficult challenge I faced upon being put in foster care would have to be sibling separation. I didn't always get along with my siblings, but when I didn't live with them, it upset me. I guess I know what they mean when they say 'You don't know what you got 'til it's gone.'"

Jennifer now gets to see her brother frequently, but is rarely allowed to see her younger sister. Jennifer says about her volunteer efforts, "Every other month, I drive to Owatonna, Minnesota and speak to future foster parents or adoptive parents. I tell them about my experiences and the pros and cons of being in foster care. After I am done with my speech, they ask me questions. When I am about to leave, I am asked to give them just a simple piece of advice. That's easy: 'Don't make the youth feel like a burden'." Jennifer has a wide range of interests and hobbies including photograhy, listening to music, singing, reading, walking, swimming, and being with friends.

Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2010 Outstanding Young Leaders