Shawn entered care at the age of 14 and aged out in the middle of her High School year. For all technicalities she was homeless for a short period of time. During her this period the only time she ate was at school because she qualified for free lunch. Due to circumstances she was not in the "right" type of foster care which made her not qualify for Chaffee dollars.
Chaffee eligibility would have allowed her an independent living plan and money for college. If it hadn't been for the support of programs like the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, FosterClub and Orphan Foundation of America Shawn would not be the successful woman she is today. It is her hopes that young people utilize the resources that are available to them, and always have like these resources in place.
Shawn is currently attending school at North Western Michigan College. It was her contact with her friends and taking classes with Diane Emling- her Sociology teacher that continued to re-affirm Shawn to major in Social Work and Public Will and Policy. Shawn has been an advocate and activist for social inequality over the years. Some of these activity include being featured, narrating and directing several documentaries; (including a nationally recognized one that has been shown on CNN), lobbying in DC and Lansing for federal financing reform and general foster care policy, traveling around the country teaching and presenting leadership skills, developing and creating workshops, directing a local crisis center, creating fund-raising events within the Traverse City community. Additionally, Shawn has public
spoken locally and nationally at over 150 events.
Shawn is currently working at the youth homeless shelter Pete's Place as a direct care worker and occasionally interns at Department of Human Services via Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative. Shawn has also been active with the student group: VOX- Voices for Planned Parenthood at her local campus and has worked with Stigma Busters which advocates in disengaging stigma associated with mental health. Her future plans include attending Evergreen College to study non-profit leadership and Public Will and Policy. She would like to some day start a program like the All Star Program for under-privileged, at-risk youth.
In her free time Shawn enjoys painting and drawing characters- Mary Ryden and Johan Vasque have been very influential. She is working on a children's novel, and plans to take a semester off school before her she begins her graduate's degree to engage in Catharsis and to descend out West-preferably to Oregon or Washington. She also enjoys playing Magic the Gathering with her fiancé. Shawn has a pet bunny and enjoys cute fluffy animals and eccentric fashion. She is also takes pride in her shoe collection- this year she has accumulated 60 pairs.