With 18 years of foster care under his belt, Tobias is certainly ready to speak about the trials of the foster care system as it pertains to his story. Currently engaged with Oregon Foster Youth Council, Tobias Naddy is working to write and distribute Rights of Foster Kids so that every youth will enter care equipt with those Rights and so that Foster Parents are also aware of the youths’ rights. He has started his social movement by starting a Facebook group. He says of youth involvement in improving the foster care system “It’s not important, it’s MANDATORY!… not only will it bring strength to us… it teaches us what else is wrong and it will tell us how to improve our long term plan.” Tobias, 19, is also preparing for life by going to college and studying dance, acting and poetry. He earned his Zumba teaching certificate this year. His goal is to earn a living with his talents at the heart of his career, then to help and heal those in foster care in need of financial assistance. Tobias states that he wants to make a difference in the lives of kids currently in the foster system, and that he considers being a foster kid to be a life-long mentality. He says: “Our lives as Foster Kids doesn’t stop after we leave, we still have the struggle and pain in ourselves so why would we no longer be Foster Kids? Once a Foster Kid, always a Foser Kid. Every story can and needs to be utilized to improve the future of Foster Kids that will come our way.” The foster care system has not been easy for Tobias. He struggled with culture identification, depression and mostly separation anxiety. He recalls, “I grew up with no friends or family, the only person I had … was my mother, she was all I had. We had one of those mother-son bonds that few in this world could understand. The last time they took me was heart-wrenching!” But surprisingly, Tobias tries to see a positive through the pain. Describing his mixed race foster family, he says, “I feel blessed because … I’ve learned what it’s like to have siblings and to have a full family to love.”
Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2012 Outstanding Young Leaders