Zoe was in foster care for two years (ages 16 -18 years old), and was in about five placements including foster homes and group homes. She moved into her first apartment at the age of 18, and eventually found a housing program through New Avenues for Youth that helps her with independent living skills and planning for her future. She is also a student at Portland Community College. Zoe’s goal is to transfer to PSU and major in Psychology, and ultimately help young adults in need.
Zoe is currently working as Peer Navigator on the Oregon Pandemic Relief funds project at FosterClub, in partnership with the state of Oregon to get funds out to support young people who have experienced foster care.
Working with FosterClub to help youth access these funds has been very rewarding for Zoe, her first two cases got funded last week. This is such an amazing and important community of folks who inspire her to be the best version of herself to model strength and give motivation to ask for help when needed.
During Zoe’s second year living on her own, the pandemic started. Although she felt very fortunate to have been in a living situation that offered support, being in quarantine with depression and anxiety presented many challenges. As someone who isolates when they are depressed, quarantine only fueled her depression, and anxiety about the future. Zoe felt the help she needed was harder to access during the pandemic, and she didn’t have a strong foundation of support to rely on.
“This pandemic has taken so much away from us, but our voices need to be heard, and hopefully more support and resources will become available to recover what needs to be mended” she said.
Zoe feels the pandemic slowed down her recovery, but she has recently begun to come out of these struggles stronger. She has been able to connect with new friends and adjust to online school, therapy, etc. Zoe hopes she can encourage others to ask for help when they need it, and be as resourceful as possible. She encourages all young people who have experienced foster care, who are struggling during these times, to apply for pandemic relief funds.
“If you have a need, this money is for YOU and you deserve the support because to put it lightly, there just wasn’t enough help out there during this pandemic” Zoe added.
If you or someone you know has experienced foster care in Oregon and has a financial need, you may qualify for this emergency relief. Please visit www.fosterclub.com/ORHelp to apply. If you need any type of support in filling out this form, please contact FosterClub at 503-717-1552 for assistance.
FosterClub is the national network for young people in foster care. FosterClub provides direct support to young people who experience foster care and drives change in the child welfare system by elevating youth voice. The national headquarters of FosterClub are located in Seaside, Oregon.