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Samuel Martin spent 18 years in Washington's foster care system.

Samuel Martin, age 22 of Washington, spent 18 years in foster care. Now he strives to don his charisma, as well as his natural ability to captivate his audience, to become a motivational speaker, while at the same time, developing and delivering research-based trainings and workshops. His goal at large is to enter the political arena, utilizing his degree in political science.

“I feel as if it [becoming a politician] is the best way for me to create long-term change as well as leave a positive impact on people and communities,” Samuel Martin explains. He believes that the key ingredient to healthy politics is representation. He has served on the The Mocking Bird Society State Leadership Council where he was the original leader of the Seattle chapter and later took lead as president while in college. The Mocking Bird Network is comprised of six individual regions across the state of Washington, each with a local chapter to serve the community with individual development, system change, and community engagement. His responsibilities as president included organizing and throwing events and delivering trainings to stakeholders in the community such as social workers, youth in care and legislators, sometimes lobbying at the state capital and at a local level. In high school he also served as a role model, mentor and tutor to students who were assumed to be “at-risk.”

In college, Samuel was elected as Associated Students of the University of Washington Senator where served for two years working to adequately represent the student body in conjunction with what would also be best for the school. He was also selected as a 2010 CCAI Foster Youth intern and has earned numerous awards and scholarships including the Seymour Kaplan Humanitarian award, Boeing Company MESA Scholarship, Alpha Phi Alpha young leaders scholarship, and graduated from high school with honors, and MESA scholarship.

Samuel fuels his ambitions with the intention of turning mental pain into something positive. At birth, he was placed first with his grandmother, which was still an unfavorable situation, then with his aunt, a mother of five and full time student, at which point he was then removed from kinship care altogether when his aunt moved out of state suddenly, intentionally leaving him behind. After being abused and abandoned by the ones which are supposed to love unconditionally, he lost motivation for awhile, getting into trouble at school and dealing with frequent suspensions. He was later placed with another aunt, who “became the first rock of stability in a life that had been nothing but chaos.” Then something marvelous happened.

“It clicked - I was more than my situation.” This realization allowed him to bring his GPA up to 3.5 and make it on the honor role, as well as giving him the motivation he needed to participate in extra-curricular activities. This is when he realized that volunteering was the thing that made him the most happy.

“Volunteering is not something you just choose to do. It is is a life-style for me.” Samuel describes being blessed with people coming into his life that just want to help make the world a better place and feels that he has a moral responsibility to give back the blessings as they were given to him.