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Going into this internship, my mind was focused on learning new information on the foster care system and making a difference wherever I go. I didn't want to start up any new relationship with anyone, especially with the other interns. I didn't want to end up getting close with them and then saying good-bye after the internship. People always ended up coming into my life and then leaving. It is always hard on me. I've always gotten hurt, so I believed that if I was focused on myself and what I needed to do in order to make a difference, I would be fine. Wrong... I created friendships that may last a lifetime and a family. A family that I know will always be there for me whenever I need them. I found people who understood what I was going through and will always stand by my side no matter what. This internship and the people that I have worked with has taught me so much about myself and everything I needed to know in order to make change on the foster care system. It's hard for me to say love and mean it, but I truly love these people and I am so happy that I've gotten the opportunity to work them. We all have been able to make a difference in each others lives and most importantly, we have been able to make a difference in hundreds of other foster youths lives. It really is a great feeling.

I thought I knew a lot about the foster care system, but it ended up where I only knew very little information. The first two weeks of the internship was very overwhelming, but everything was worth it. We got to know other all-stars by doing a scavenger hunt, presenting with each other, and sharing our milestones. It really wasn't an easy process. We were letting strangers into our lives, but after doing everything together I don't regret one thing! They truly are family. They have gone through everyone's ups and downs, we knew everyone's hopes and dreams, and we've gotten the chance to see first hand at how we live our own life. This internship was unexpected, but full of opportunities. The other all-stars and I were taught how to strategic share, help pass bills, so much more. Oh, I can't forget to say public speaking!

Our first panel went fantastic! The selected all-stars went to Tillamook and talked to several foster youths about transitioning out of foster care. We each got to share a little part of our stories and connect with the foster youth. It was such a great experience. After the panel, a couple of the youth who connect with us came up and talked to us. A couple youth even asked for our email address. It was an amazing moment. I didn't think I could personally make a difference. I was wrong. After a couple days I got an email for a youth asking for some advice and I gave her the best advice I could. We are still in touch. Its a good feeling. Just because I'm in the same state doesn't mean its good bye. It's a see you later type thing. I got to experience going to the Make it happen conference, which challenged me mentally and emotionally. I was truly being tested on how prepared I was a presenter and a counselor. We all had late nights and early morning. We were tired and drained, but we had to have our game face at all times. It was hard and I just want to say no one is perfect! I lost my cool when my partner and were preparing to present a workshop the day before. Both my partner and I stormed off and didn't get to go through the workshop, but we made it work the day that we presented it. How we did it, you ask? We apologized before we went to bed and put our game face on the next day. Game face is essential when working in this type of environment. We truly got stronger as a person. The all-stars and I got to connect with about 80 or more foster youth during this conference. I still have contact with some of the foster youth from that conference. They're all wonderful kids!

I'm sorry to say that I have to finish writing for today, but I'll finish the rest later! Just remember expect the unexpected and just work with it. I have to thank the L2's, FosterClub staff, and the all-stars for showing me that. Talk to you soon.

-Jess Edgar

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Jul 19, 2014 By Jess Edgar