I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about my religious views (I’m a Christian) but today I want to share the Father’s Day message that was presented at my church on yesterday. Mr. Etan Thomas delivered a powerful “call to action” to adults challenging us to reach out to and embrace our youth. Prior to yesterday, I had no idea that Etan Thomas is a husband, father, author, speaker, and community activist who played professionally in the National Basketball Association. Etan was raised by his mother in a single parent home but never fell victim to the stereotypes and tragedies in his community.
Since releasing his second book,Fatherhood Rising To The Ultimate Challenge, last year, Etan has traveled the US empowering young people with the message that they can be anything they want to be in life despite their current circumstances. He speaks in middle and high schools, colleges, prisons, and to professional and social justice organizations.
I was “flipping” through my blog and realized that I use quite a few different adjectives to describe teens in foster care. Brave, awesome, and resilient are the first adjectives I rediscovered. I said it and I mean it. I am on a mission to change societal attitudes and behaviors as it relates to youth in care. Negative statistics and negative stereotypes of all teen are prevalent but they are extra potent when it comes to teens in care. fortunately, I am not tackling this mission alone.
Today I want to say THANK YOU to all the amazing Foster Parents, Adoptive Parents, foster care agencies, adoption agencies, Social Workers and Case Workers, mental health professionals, Advocates, and Foster Care Alumni who are making the world a better place — not just for youth in care but for all of us. THANK YOU to our SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month honorees who stepped up as role models and shared their personal testimonies to show that teens in care are succeeding on their own terms.
Permanent link to this post
(174 words, 1 image, estimated 42 secs reading time)
I saw the first episode of Family Addition with Leigh Anne Touhy this past Friday and the second episode of The Fosters on Monday. The question that I asked myself after each television show was “Did this make me want to help a child in the foster care system?” I am a very critical viewer and the verdict is still out on both shows.
One way to eliminate negative stereotypes about children and teens in foster care is to share stories of successful placements, thriving young people, and well-rounded foster care alumni. Our SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month feature aims to eliminate negative stereotypes of teens in foster care and show that when given support and encouragement young people can change the world.
Join us in the celebration. Nominate a teen in foster care that is leading a life of promise and making a positive impact in his or her community for SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month today. Nominations are accepted on a continuous basis. #STOTM
You Might Also Want To Read: SPOTLIGHT on Manuella
I have to admit that during the month of May I have been on autopilot. — sometimes even feeling stagnant. There were also several times during National Foster Care Month when I pondered “why I do what I do”. Today I had several “why” reminders. In fact, they were more like “wake up calls” and now I’m feeling like myself again. I had to RePackage Myself For Success!
GET READY…I’M BACK ON TRACK!!!
Back on the path that leads to:
· Providing a platform for teens to share their awesomeness.
· Empowering teens to accept and embrace this platform (and other opportunities that come their way).
· Lending my voice to those teens that have been silenced.
There have been various studies and comparisons of foster children and military children. The bottom line is that they are all OUR children and deserve the care and concern of the entire nation.
Just like foster children, military children experience unique challenges such as parental separation, family reunification, and reintegration. Due to frequent moves, many military children experience disrupted relationships with friends, and must adapt to new schools and cultivate new community resources. Foster children also face these same disruptions. Shared traumas also include a parent with (combat) injury or illness, parental death, and child maltreatment and neglect.
On this Memorial Day during National Foster Care Month I want to show appreciation to all of our Veteran’s and active military and their families for their sacrifices that ensure our individual freedoms. I also am grateful to all the foster parents, child welfare workers, mentors, and supporters of children in foster care.
Leroy S. is a high school junior in Texas. He has been in foster care for about five years. Leroy will graduate as a high school junior this year. The demand for more self-experienced youth workers motivated him to expedite his graduation so that he can help other teens and children who are and will be in his situation. He also wants to set a good example for his younger siblings to follow. Staff at Leroy’s high school supported him and helped him push through the fear so that he can achieve his goal. Leroy will attend college to pursue a double major in Criminal Justice and Social Work with a minor in Broadcast Journalism. He is currently taking two college courses in Social Work. Leroy also plans to obtain a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and Social Work so that he can advocate for foster youth nationwide and then globally.
Resiliency = the ability to cope with, adapt to, and overcome challenges
We do not live in a perfect world. Life will always have challenges, some of which are unavoidable. We overcome life’s obstacles by remaining open, flexible, and willing to adapt to change.
Teens in foster care very often have encountered more difficulties than the average adult. Resilience is essential in order for these young people to face problems head on, conquer adversity and move forward with their lives. Despite the negative stereotypes and alarming statistics about kids in foster care, many teens in the system are thriving and not just surviving.