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Ricki has a gut feeling about leadership. He feels that his peers often look to him as a leader and so he wants to develop those skills. He volunteers at Community Garden, Winter Rage (helping community members during the holidays), Better Futures (a pilot program to assist youth in the foster care system and participates in Shades of Unity, a group at school focusing on diversity. In all these activities, “I take every opportunity to act as a leader”. Over the years, Ricki has received a number of awards that show his leadership drive and his willingness to work hard and overcome obstacles. Honors include Student of the Month, Most Improved Student, Most Changed Student. He maintains a high grade point average and takes pride that his teachers speak highly of him. Since about sixth grade, Ricki has moved around and lived in a variety of homes that did not include his parents. He wasn’t officially placed into state care, however, until about age 16. After high school graduation, his move is to a place of his own. He feels he has a lot of the tool he needs to get started including an ILP who is helping out in his transition. Ricki says he’s a little unclear about all the rules he needs to follow in order to continue to get support in living independently and getting his college education, but he knows he has several people to contact with questions. He feels that being a foster youth has changed him as a person. “I have a new understand of what others have been through because I am now experiencing it too.” Ricki says that, although he never considered that he would be a foster youth, the experience has been challenging and he loves to “attack challenges as they come my way”. Through it all he has remained positive and has focused on his leadership and live goals as he studies college psychology with the aim of helping others.

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