Stephen Pond, at 20, is very aware of his responsibility to others. Through many tough times in the foster system, he has come out shining and has been a part of many changes on the legislative level for the child welfare system. He is a natural born leader and mentor, and has proven himself as such.

Stephen’s story starts out as a very troubled teen from Indiana, removed from his home because of his violent nature. Unfortunately, he was deemed a danger to others and himself, and was place in a hospital, and from there into many residential facilities. He had very little contact with his mother and family.

For ten months he remained confused, scared, and angry. Finally, just before turning 16, he was placed in a group home. This did not turn out as he wished, and he was placed back into a facility and yet another, and finally another group home. He was then ready for independent living, but found the transition very hard after coming out of such a flawed system.

From this experience, Stephen begins to realize he can change things, and sets forth into the legislative processes of the child welfare system. Stephen became active in a Youth Leadership Board YEP (Youth Engagement Project) and also is a former member of the Generation Now Youth Board.

He has attended the annual COBI conference for the past 4 years, voicing his opinion and experience on a legislative level concerning Child Welfare, Education, and Child Poverty. He was part of a group interviewed, supporting current legislation to promote funding for the benefit of child welfare, and was selected as the spokesperson of a panel of three, explaining legislative bills and their effects, on the child welfare system.

Stephen Pond is the recipient of Youth Voices Award from IARCCA for his persistent involvement with events such as these and his participation at the previous COBI. Stephen is currently a student at Ivy Tech Community College, and will continue his education at a four year college for his Bachelor’s in Social Work (BSW).

A natural born leader, trouble-shooter, problem solver, and mentor, Stephen is well on his way to make this world a better place for children in the foster system. He has high hopes of significantly effecting the system on a legislative level, through the participation in the Foster Club All-Star program.

Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2012 Outstanding Young Leaders