Kayla Johnson, 21, North Carolina’s Foster Care System 

Kayla entered care at age 9, while in foster care Kayla had a lot of trouble expressing herself and became a very withdrawn child, feeling too shy to talk to other kids her age. She experienced moving to different schools for multiple years in a row, and she believed it affected her social life. To cope with her anxiety, she would use art to express herself. Feeling out of place in a constantly shifting world, she feels she can relate to other youth that have dealt with the same difficulties. 

Kayla has enjoyed her time volunteering at Habitat for Humanity Restore Warehouse, where she interacted with customers, restored old furniture, and stocked shelves. And Cape Fear Regional Theatre as an intern, doing data recording work in Microsoft Excel, then working on stage to prepare for the summer Children’s musical. 

Kayla was awarded “Highest Honor” during high school graduation for having a 4.3 GPA. Disney selected her to be a part of the Disney Dreamers Academy program, which was a leadership conference at Walt Disney World. There she interacted with Celebrities such as Steve Harvey, Mikki Taylor, and the many talented animators and artists with Disney. She is also a part of the Lloyd International Honors College at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 

She is a double major in psychology and visual arts at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is studying to learn how people can use art as an extension of self-expression.

“I would love to discuss the struggles of foster care with youth who are experiencing it and feel that a certain kinship can be gained from this interaction.”