2009 FosterClub All-Star Kita Anderson wrote the following piece for the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA)
Going to graduate school to achieve my dream of becoming a social worker after overcoming a harsh beginning is the only way for me to give back to my community and make a difference for the 513,000 children and youth in care in the United States.
My experience in the foster care system has greatly influenced my interest in working in the Social Work field. I am specifically interested in working with other foster youth and families. Having survived a beginning of abuse, neglect, emotional and physical trauma, I can only look to helping others when they are in need. When I was 5 years old, I entered the foster care system but was separated from my four other siblings. I did not reunite with them again until 13 years later. This severe and sudden separation from my siblings had a profound impact on my development. My older sister had become my surrogate mother while my birth mother was out on her drinking binges, even though she was still a child herself. She would make sure my siblings and I were taken care of and had everything we needed. I relied on her when I needed her most. But by entering foster care, I was uprooted from all that I had known and I had a hard time adjusting to a new, strange environment. School was the only stability for me so I invested all my energy and time into my studies with enthusiasm and complete dedication.
Graduate school is the most important stepping stone for me to accomplish my goals. I always knew as a child that attending college was imperative to work with children in a professional setting. I know that I could probably find work without going to Graduate school and receiving my Master's; however, I feel I do not have enough education to enter the workforce just yet. I have always been interested in other people's stories, cultures and traditions. Attending Graduate school would give me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and experiences to give back even more once I start working.
After I graduate with my MSW from Columbia University, I plan on traveling the world for a year to experience other cultures and open my mind to different backgrounds. I have traveled some when I was a child, but I feel I need the extra understanding of diversity. In five to six years, I want to have established a stable position working with foster youth and their families. I am interested in living in my home state (Colorado) and making a difference in the same county that I grew up in. Boulder County has a great Social Services system, but as with anything, it can improve. I want to be an inspirational Social Worker, making it my priority to keep families together as much as possible. I did not have the best case worker during my second stint in foster care, which has made me think about what she could have done better. I would like to be one of those social workers that has it all together and can go above and beyond just the minimum of being a caseworker. I want to make a difference in a foster child's life in a major positive way.
Read another Real Story from Kita about her relationship with her sister titled The Unbreakable Bond
FosterClub All-Star Kita Anderson is a youth advocate, chocoholic, avid-reader… and a foster kid.