9 years in Foster Care
21 years old
Z is completing dual Bachelor’s degrees in Social Work and Criminal Justice. From there, they will pursue a Master’s degree in either Social Work of Political Science. Z plans to have a career in the policy and advocacy sector related to the child welfare system, specifically foster youth. They also want to work with their fellow survivors who are experiencing a gap in support and services as they navigate exiting the life of exploitation and trafficking. Z works with an initiative to reduce the demand for paid sex, and provides a lived experience perspective to give a deeper understanding to community members, educators, and professionals.
Z is a member of a leadership team which is working on redesigning the John H. Chafee program. As a team leader, they provide lived experience feedback on policy recommendations and campaigning strategies, and develop opportunities to engage with government stakeholders and policymakers.
Like many young people who have experienced foster care, Z has a complicated history with the system. While their time in foster care contributed to their trauma, they also recognize the lessons and opportunities it provided them. They did not choose to be resilient - a trait that blooms in heartbreak and difficulty - but keeping their eyes on her education has helped Z to find focus and a renewed sense of purpose. Now a parent themself, Z strives to break generational curses and inspire their children by acting on their passion for uplifting marginalized and unheard voices.