Joshua-John DeLorenzo spent 17 years in Oregon's Foster Care System.
Nineteen year old Joshua-John DeLorenzo has spent 17 years in Oregon’s foster care system. After moving through nine different placements, he has settled in with his foster parent, Maryanne DeLorenzo, and in fact, just changed his last name from Slaney to DeLorenzo to reflect her last name. Joshua is already deeply involved in his community and in advocating for foster youth in particular. He has worked with the Cascade AIDS Project (CAP), volunteered with a soup kitchen in downtown Portland, and participated in the Associated Students of Portland Community College (ASPCC) Student Government. For the past four years, Joshua has worked for the Blazers Boys and Girls Club at the front desk, as well as teaching dance and helping younger students with their homework. Because of his outstanding work, the national Boys & Girls Clubs of America selected Joshua as this year's Oregon Youth of the Year, which has earned him a $1,000 scholarship. He'll compete on the regional level for a $10,000 scholarship and the chance to go on to the national competition in Washington. Recently, Joshua had the opportunity to speak at the Foster Youth Summit sponsored by Portland Community College at the Rock Creek Campus. The summit was organized to increase awareness about the experiences of foster youth in college. Portland Community College is leading an initiative to improve college experiences for youth in foster care, and Joshua spoke about his experiences growing up in care and then starting college. Joshua reports that Joshua plans to attend Portland Community College for two years to get his Associate's degree and then transfer to Portland State University where he hopes to major in special education and double minor in psychology and sign language. He is sure to make friends along the way; he was also chosen as Most Social by his high-school peers at McCoy Academy in Portland. In the future, Joshua would like to focus his career on working with children, possibly through education.