Tag Archive


Published on June 14, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

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.

you rock

From Foster Care to Author: Alumni Share Their Victory in Books

Published on April 12, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

Today is National Drop Everything and Read Day (D.E.A.R.)


What is D.E.A.R.?
D.E.A.R. stands for “Drop Everything and Read,” a national month-long celebration of reading designed to remind folks of all ages to make reading a priority activity in their lives. Because, what’s more fun(damental) than reading, really?

When is D.E.A.R. celebrated?

D.E.A.R. programs have been held nationwide on April 12th in honor of Beverly Cleary’s birthday, since she first wrote about D.E.A.R. in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 .


So, go ahead and join the millions of families, schools, bookstores, and communities who have participated throughout the years and pledge to “drop” what you’re doing in order to read a good book.


I challenge you to drop everything and read about the triumph and accomplishments of successful foster care alumni.   Here is my reading “to do” list:


From Foster Care to Fabulous: An Imperative Movement by Capri C. Cruz


The Pain In The Promise: Child Neglected, God Protected, Beauty Reflected by Nikki J

What If Our President Was a Foster Care Alumni?

Published on February 18, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

Happy President’s Day!


What If Our President Was a Foster Care Alumni?

  1. If the President of the United States was a foster care alumni would 21 become the age that youth exit foster care nationwide?
  2. If our President was a foster care alumni would local agencies receives more and not less funding for child abuse and neglect prevention and early intervention services?
  3. If our President was a foster care alumni would the numbers of effective life skills, transitional living, and workforce development training programs for teens in foster care increase?   
  4. If our President was a foster care alumni would we have thousands of young adults aging out of the foster care system annually?
  5. If our President was a foster care alumni would people begin to believe in and celebrate the potential and promise of young people in foster care?



2012 Year In Review

Published on January 4, 2013 By Nicki Sanders


I have said my good-bye to 2012 and welcomed in 2013 with an expectation of abundance in all areas of my life.  I am grateful to all of the people who helped shape my values, views, and victories.


The one sentence that sums up my 2012 is “leap and the net will appear”.  It has served me well as I learned to let go of perfection and analysis paralysis. 


Stay tuned for greater leaps in 2013.  


The Teen Toolbox, LLC 2012 Year In Review


SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month

  • Shorona
  • Jordan


Workshops and Presentations

  • Prince George’s County Department of Social Services Independent Living Program
  • Metropolitan Baptist Church Teen Ministry
  • DERF Executive Youth Leadership Summit at US Capitol
  • The WrightVision Foundation
  • Center City Public Charter School
  • Howard County NAACP Youth Council
  • The Circle, Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School
  • Kettering Largo Mitchellville Boys & Girls Club Softball Clinic

Thank You For Sharing Your Foster Care Journey

Published on January 2, 2013 By Nicki Sanders

December 2012 was a month of pride and enlightenment at The Teen Toolbox. We hosted our 6th Annual PACK A PURSE™ Drive and collected and distributed 705 purses and other bags filled with personal hygiene items to teen girls in foster care in 17 organizations.


We were also greatly inspired by the seven women foster care alumni who shared their personal joys and achievements via The Teen Toolbox blog. I am grateful for their advocacy, leadership, and wisdom.


THANK YOU, ladies, for raising your voices to positively impact the lives of youth in foster care all around the world.


Latrice Ware, Mentor, Advocate, Foster Care Alumni


Helen Hall Ramaglia, Author, Foster/Adopt Mother, Foster Care Alumni


Shalita O’Neale, Trail Blazer, Advocate, and Foster Care Alumni


Shay Olivarria, Financial Education Speaker, Author and Foster Care Alumni


Kea Theroux, Foster Care Alumni, CASA Volunteer, and Social Worker


Capri Cruz, Author, Speaker, Foster Care Alumni and Activist

Latrice Ware, Mentor, Advocate, Foster Care Alumni

Published on December 31, 2012 By Nicki Sanders

Latrice Ware was born and raised in Ohio.  She was in kinship care until age 12 and then went into the foster care system at age 13 after her grandmother had a stroke.  Latrice was placed in three foster homes.  Latrice questioned how a stranger could love a child that wasn’t theirs.  Her foster mother’s response was that she does love her and that she cares for someone else children so those children can do it for someone else.  She challenged Latrice to do more and be more.  Because of her love and encouragement, Latrice has spent her entire life helping others.  Latrice graduated high school and began college at 16.  She endured a heart catheterization procedure as a teenager and left school because of her health.


Latrice found a job in corporate America and worked her way up the corporate ladder.  The price of success was working 65-70 hours per week leaving little time to spend with her young daughter.  She then worked as a consultant for Arlington County. 


Helen Hall Ramaglia, Author, Foster/Adopt Mother, Foster Care Alumni

Published on December 27, 2012 By Nicki Sanders

Helen Hall Ramaglia is an author, Foster/Adoptive Mother, Speaker and Advocate for kids in foster care.  She is Founder and Executive Director of Fostering SuperStars, a nonprofit organization designed to enrich the lives of children placed in foster care by serving as a primary connector to organizations, partnerships and providers to meet many of their needs that would normally go unmet.  Fostering SuperStars matches each child with a mentor/advocate, enrolls each child in life skills camp, and ensures that each child receives a seasonal wardrobe twice a year.  Fostering SuperStars will also connect each child who desires it with an organization that provides horseback riding/therapy.


Helen says that we must fully understand the heart and life of a foster child before we can effectively foster, adopt or work with this vulnerable population of extraordinary children.  She shared her story with The Teen Toolbox blog readers to help America walk in the shoes of a child who has experienced physical, mental and emotional abuse, was removed from everything they had known, was provided shelter from the State and strangers, and thrust into adulthood totally unprepared.