Living with 12 other people between the ages of 18-24 who are all from a different state who have also experienced foster care can be very very very interesting. Being an All Star means you have to live with your coworkers in a three bedroom house and some how make it work. And it's been one of the most insightful experiences I have ever had. Living with 12 other people who have under go trauma and come from an array of different backgrounds has helped me gain knowledge on the different foster care systems around the USA and gave me the ability to live with different cultural, ethical, and custom perspectives. Although I'm closer to some of the other all stars more then others, I have a bond with all of them that no one can replace. Being an all star has helped me connect with people that understand. Understand what it's like to lose their siblings, to be in a terrible foster home or to not have a social worker return your call. Because of shared experiences, the other all stars and I can relate on so many levels and we help each other grow within advocating for foster youth. No matter what part of the country we are from, we will always be family.
Being an all star has also made me feel close. Close as in, no matter how far apart any of us are on the map,we all are part of a huge network challenging and working on the flaws of the system. Foster club has taught me that the advocates within foster care are all a phone call or a plane away. We stand together- United.
Before coming to Oregon, I thought I knew foster care like it was the back of my hand....but then I became an All Star. I have learned so much about different programs for foster youth, analyzed statistics on impeccable issues youth face daily, and strengthened my skills in advocacy. Before coming here I thought I knew it all but evidently there is so much more then to what I thought foster care looked like for all states. As an all star, I get to use my knowledge and take it with me to different conferences and meetings to be a mentor toward foster kids and help them grow into an advocate for them self.
While being an all star, so far, I got to attend the Dream Conference which is a 4 day event on getting foster youth ready for college and independent living. I grew attached to my youth and got to know them on more of a personal level and gave them my perspective on how to get into college, what it's like being independent, and how to become successful regardless of adversities faced in life. Seeing their eyes light up or hearing their stories has tainted my heart with joy and gave me encouragement to keep doing what I love doing- which is reforming foster care and the outcomes for foster youth.
Foster Club and everyone involved has so far gave me an experience I will never forget. Not only have they taught me the necessary skills to be a young leader, but have helped me with personal life issues like a family and great support system would. Thank you Foster Club for giving me the helping hand when I need someone to lean on. Also, thank you for the opportunity to live my dream. The dream of empowering the most at risk youth in the country and providing that stepping stone into giving every foster youth what they deserve across the Nation.