Hello everyone! I'm Kayla. This year I was selected to be a 2016 FosterClub All-Star. When I got the phone call that I had been accepted it was a jaw dropping experience. I was speechless, excited, and most importantly couldn't wait to jump in and start changing the child welfare system. Over the next few weeks I prepared for the flight across the country for this amazing opportunity. When I arrived in Portland Oregon I quickly met up with a couple of my fellow All-Stars at the meeting spot to get picked up. They were all really nice, however with me being shy I was hesitant to open up. After we were all together and settled into our new home away from home the fun began. We all come from different backgrounds, different places, and different ages. Me, being from the tiny state of Vermont had never experienced such diversity. As the first week passed I was definitely amazed learning about how different things were from where I lived.
All off us All-Stars hit the road running the next day starting our intense training process. Although slightly overwhelming at first, I was able to adjust quickly and learn many new things. The days were long and at night was when I was able to socialize with my new friends and get to know them more, as well as explore the new scenery of the Pacific. Sacrificing sleep was worth it to succeed not only in making new friends, but in ensuring I was able to be the best All-Star that I know I'm capable of being.
Recently, we all went to camp for a week. The cabins were musty and the trees surrounded us reminding me so much of home. It was lovely. This particular camp consisted of over fifty foster youth ages 16-21 that came together from across the state of Oregon. My role was to speak to them, reach out, connect, and to teach them things they may not know. I presented some of the workshops I had learned during training to them, interacted with them and hopefully impacted a few in a positive way. This was my first experience putting what I've learned into action and it was a huge success. I couldn't be more proud of myself and our team for how much we were able to positively influence all those youth in a short matter of time.
Thus far, I would say I am beyond proud of what the All-Stars have accomplished in the last month. The idea that you can take so many people with such different histories and put them together when the only common characteristic they share is foster care, educate them and have them work as a team to better the child welfare system as a whole is truly astonishing. I am so grateful to be an All-Star and to have this opportunity to make new friends, learn new things and help others in need. My heart is overflowing with joy in every aspect of what we're doing. I can't wait to check in again and keep you posted on what comes next!
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