Clarity = clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity
I am Nicki Sanders, Chief Visionary Officer of The Teen Toolbox. I am a youth advocate and life skills expert who uses my Packaged For Success™ program to help teens age 14-21 set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals. I am especially committed to developing seminars that support teens in foster care in creating life-long connections and achieving economic independence. In addition, she offers professional development training for youth workers and educators. I holds Master’s degree in Social Work and have fifteen years of direct experience with youth and families in residential, school-based, and community based programs.
Many times teens in foster care don’t receive consistent support, encouragement, and nurturing. Here are 21 phrases to uplift, inspire, and celebrate teens in foster care. Share some today.
SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month – March 2013
Nick N. graduated with his IEP diploma in 2010 and then attended school an additional year to receive his regular diploma in 2011. He is an avid fan of NASCAR, the New York Giants and the New York Yankees. Nicki enjoys being outdoors. He works with a local landscaping company where his duties include lawn maintenance, weed-whacking, creating stone ways, and plowing. Nicki entered foster care in 2008 and has had the privilege of remaining in the same foster home since that time. He has been described as a kind, “old soul” who has a heart of gold. He is very personable and has matured into a hard worker who loves his family and friends and cherishes his relationships. Nick has created a strong bond with his foster family, caseworker and KidsPeace family.
Nick became a Volunteer Fire Fighter during his senior of high school in 2011. He was exposed to this industry with his father and other family members and set a goal to join. Nick is also OSHA, CPR and First Aid trained and has a badge with a fire number.
FACT – There is no such thing as a perfect family.
Every relationship and every family has challenges. Miscommunication, temporary disconnection, hurt feelings, and anger are normal. It’s how we deal with these issues that matters most. The goal should be to ensure that we don’t let them take over our lives and ruin our relationships.
When we think of the families of children in foster care we almost always think of horrific family relationships. The truth is that children enter the foster care system for a variety of reasons – abuse, neglect, abandonment, death, inability to locate biological relatives, mental illness, and other health conditions.
FACT – Children and teens in foster care have experienced trauma
Years ago I was employed as a Family Support Worker in a community-based organization in a section of the city with the highest poverty, teen pregnancy, HIV/STI, drop out, and unemployment rates. Before each family received services I was required to do a home visit. Some of my clients were teen parents and others were grandparents raising their grandkids. Some were involved with child welfare and others were at risk of homelessness due to health conditions. Despite the background or situation of any of my clients, every home visit started the same way.
1. Ring doorbell or knock on door
2. Greet person who comes to door and introduce myself
3. Wait to be invited to come inside or ask if I can enter
4. Wait to be invited to sit down
We have become a society that sensationalizes pessimism. The local and national news grabs our attention with depressing or shocking stories. Controversial headlines lace the front pages of our favorite internet search engines. Political progress has been bogged down with threats of crisis and doom. Even childhood nursery rhymes have been turned into dark movies and TV shows. All of this negativity is damaging to our psych – It infiltrates our consciousness. [I personally sleep much better since I have made the decision not to watch the late night news.] Many times even when we speak we use language that is discouraging or fear-induced. For teens in foster care who are already struggling with fear, disappointment, or abandonment, being bombarded by negative messages can further hinder their emotional growth.
Each year, an estimated 20,000 young people “age out” of the U.S. foster care system. Many are only 18 years old, have not experienced consistent nurturing and stability, and still need support and services. Several foster care alumni studies show that without a lifelong connection to a caring adult, these older youth face challenges to making a successful transition to adulthood. As adults, children who spent long periods of time in multiple foster care homes were more likely than other children to drop out of school, be unemployed, become incarcerated, and become young parents.
How do the words identity, mobile, and transient relate to the life or plight of teens in foster care? Do you have similar thoughts when you read the descriptions of family life below?