Spent 5 years in Wisconsin's foster care system
Twenty-Three year old homecoming queen, Tiffany Lozoya from Wisconsin aspires to become a social worker with a focus on assisting young people who are transitioning out of foster care to transition into post-secondary school, and is concerned about the lack of support and information available to address their specific needs. She believes that education and planning are the keys to success and is driven by a sense of duty to support her younger peers in foster care. Her long-term goal is to start an organization that supports this desire, providing support before, during and after college.
Throughout college, Tiffany was an active member of various organizations such as Latinos Unidos, Southeast Asian Organization, International Student Organization, King/Chavez Scholars Program and McNail Scholars Program. She volunteers with an assisted living program in her home town, participates in the Wisconsin Children’s Court Improvement Program. She also started an organization called, “Fostering Success” to spread awareness for the issues that are faced youth in care and other unique backgrounds. Part of her goal for doing volunteer work is to simply have the opportunity to share her own experiences in a way that could inspire others to pursue their dreams. Aside from the work she does helping people go to college, she also focuses on efforts that contribute to a cleaner environment.
Tiffany has graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in social work with honors from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. She was selected to present her research on foster care and foster youth on a state and national level and was selected to present at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Ithaca, New York in 2011. She earned several scholarships and was inducted into the Phi Alpha Social Work Honorary Society in 2012.
At the age of 13, Tiffany was placed into foster care and lived in two foster homes and placed twice at one group home. Many times during her teen years, there was no where for the state to put her except in juvenile corrections facility. As difficult and unjust as this was, the most challenging experience for Tiffany was trying to apply to college, even more difficult than all the court hearings and celebrating holidays alone. She describes that her counselors were simply not knowledgeable about helping people with an other than traditional upbringing. Even the people who worked at the group homes were unable to help her apply for college because many of them hadn’t gone to college themselves, and some of them were also former foster youth. Not having anyone to turn to that could relate to her troubles only added to the frustration. She wants to turn the lack of support she experienced into momentum to provide support to others in her situation.
“It is important that young people in foster care realize their own strength, resilience, and power to provoke positive change,” Tiffany writes.
Biography written by FosterClub volunteer: Christia Hall
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