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So far, my three and a half-week experience as a FosterClub All-Star has been one of the most fulfilling and impactful moments in my life to youth in foster care. Specifically, my time spent with the other All Stars in the office and at our duplex home, in Seaside, Oregon, and my time spent with the youth at the Southern Foster Youth Success Initiative (FYSI) Summer Institute at LA Pierce College in Los Angeles, California. 

You see, I have spent eight months out of the year, for the past four years, at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. While at college, I did not, and have not, worked with foster youth, solely because my interest has been more focused in Architecture, Entrepreneurial Leadership, and Community Service. The other four months out of the year I am home in Staten Island, New York spending the majority of my time in an Architecture Internship and bus-boying/bartending at a restaurant. 

For the past four years, my whole college career, I have had very little opportunity to talk with youth, but when I did, I spent my time at my foster care agency speaking about opportunities, college plans, and transitioning out of foster care. 

Needless to say, being able to be surrounded by foster youth, both colleagues at work and attendees at conferences, has brought me into the position to talk more and make more of an impact on youth’s life than I have in the past four years, and that is fulfilling. 

My All Star experience has been perfect because I am provided the environment to “pay it forward”, to tell my foster care experience and talk about new and innovative entrepreneurial/business ideas, life and career goals, knowledge about college and scholarships, and career and college opportunities, the topics that I want to talk about the most. See, I believe in creating a network of knowledge that can be passed on and built upon by foster youth so that success becomes the only vision and option in life, and that is exactly what I am trying to do while here at FosterClub.

I saw my belief of creating a knowledgeable network of youth become most prominent when I was paying my knowledge forward to the foster youth in college at the FYSI conference at LA Pierce College, in Los Angeles California. I talked with four youth, all whom I exchanged emails and phone numbers with and am currently talking to about applying to different college programs and scholarships. This is what I love. This is what fulfills me. And this is how my three weeks have been. 


Aug 1, 2016 By Cody Rivera