Yamina Izunza spent over 3 years in California's foster care system.

Yamina Inzunza believes foster youth earn their strength. She writes, “We've learned to be careful with who we trust.” But the difficulties that some might have communicating with foster youth is not intimidating to Yamina. She understands that as foster youth herself she is in a better position to help a fellow foster youth -- and help is what Yamina intends to provide as she graduates college to become an officer or a caseworker, ultimately working along side foster youth organizations.
Her degree in Criminal Justice will gain her a great resume, but also important are the informal recognitions that Yamina has gained. She was her high school treasurer in the Associated Student Body organization and was recognized for her participation, dedication, and leadership. The theater department of her high school recognized her by great leading roles, but also by awarding her the Thesbian award. As a member of her Independent Living Group, she received awards for Outstanding Student and Hardest Worker and for completing her IL courses.
Offering reflection of her time in foster care, Yamina writes, “The most difficult experience I dealt with while being in foster care was acceptance. I wanted to be accepted for who I was. I never realized that I had to work hard to get that. Throughout my years in foster care I learned to respect myself, and value who I am as a person....A hard working, unique individual. I worked hard, and got myself into a 4 year university. If I had never been placed in foster care, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2014 Outstanding Young Leaders