Yalanis Zahily Velez-Gonzalez, 19, Puerto Rico’s Foster Care System


Yalanis has been in the foster care system going on 2 years. She understands how being in the system might impact a young person’s decisions during their teen years, versus being raised traditionally. She’s developed a dual perspective she’d love to share with foster youth in Puerto Rico. 


When she is not studying, she’s reading a book or watching a video of spoken word poetry. When she is hanging out with her friends, they like to go to the beach and or skatepark.  She also enjoys playing tennis and goes camping often. She dedicates a fair amount of time to keeping everything in place and clean in her apartment, and in that way, cleaning becomes a hobby. Her sisters are the light of her eyes and she attends every one of their sporting events. She has a pet fish, enjoys coffee, and believes that every moment needs a good background music. 


“Knowing deeply the different worlds will help me help others make more informed, solid decisions.”