Amber S. exited the Florida foster care system two years ago. Her interests include art, music, crime scene investigation shows. She is a fan of hip hop, rap, R&B and gospel music.
Other people describe Amber as being shy and always staying to herself. She describes herself as being a good listener, and good at math and a good problem solver. She is a giver who loves to help others with their problems and her math skills come in handy as she sets a budget for herself.
Amber’s favorite TV shows are Criminal Minds and Supernatural. She graduated high school early by obtaining her GED and plans to attend college and pursue a Master’s degree in criminal justice, specializing in crime scene investigations. Watching law enforcement shows on TV and research on the crime scene industry has led Amber to her career goal to become a crime scene investigator.
Every year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States alone. That’s a student every 26 seconds – or 7,000 a day.
Jaden Smith’s parents are well-connected, multi-millionaire celebrities. He and his well-known siblings have starred in movies, released hit albums, and traveled the world on private jets with private tutors. This past September, 15 year old Jaden Smith took to Twitter and proclaimed that “If Everybody In The World Dropped Out Of School We Would Have A Much More Intelligent Society”. Jaden has privileges and opportunities that the majority of American students do not and I couldn’t agree with that declaration any LESS! I do believe that the United States public school system is broken, however!
Jahlika is a 19 year old college student in New York determined never to let her past trauma or life circumstances define her. She has a strong work history and the goal of becoming a nurse. Jahlika was recently awarded a hospital internship in conjunction with New Yorkers for Children. Jahlika was selected for this prestigious opportunity from a pool of many candidates and received a certificate of achievement at the end of the program. Because of her strong work ethic, Jahlika was then offered a paid internship.
Jahlika’s wonderful personality, hard work, and perseverance to achieve a better future earned her an invitation to attend New Yorkers for Children Annual Gala. She was given an opportunity to wear a designer dress and shoes. She also had the opportunity to have her hair and professionally done.
Tony D. is a Texas 11th grade student who has been in the foster care system for approximately 6 months. He is involved in numerous extracurricular actives such as varsity football, varsity baseball and track. In addition to playing sports, Tony enjoys working out in his free time. After graduating high school, he plans to join the Air Force and pursue a degree in health nutrition or athletic coaching.
Tony is a role model and an advocate. “Don’t give up on yourselves or your futures. Always hold your head up high and do not let any situation bring you down. Your voice, our voice is the most powerful voice that can be heard so do not be afraid to speak up because when all is said and done there is always a brighter tomorrow”, is the advice Tony wants to share with all youth in the foster care system.
You may also want to read: SPOTLIGHT On Leroy S.
The Teen Toolbox sponsors two annual drives/events to raise awareness about the issues faced by youth aging out of foster care and to show teens that someone cares:
I am very selective about the television shows and movies that I watch. I’m not into suspense, horror, and chaotic reality TV. Last night I saw the movie “They Call Me Sir” for the second time. Although he managed to avoid the child welfare system, I was a bit disturbed by the portrayal of Sirr’s relationship with his aunt and her hesitance to allow him to live with her. I was also rooting for Sirr’s cousins to reconcile with their mom and leave the gang life behind.
You already know that I’m not a sports fan so it wasn’t until the end of the movie that I found out that I was watching the biography of Sirr Parker’s life – a former running back for Texas A&M University who went on to play professionally in the National Football League, the Canadian Football League, and the Arena Football League. I was glad the movie had a happy ending even though it wasn’t the one I expected.
This has become my NBA week. No, not because of the NBA championship games between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs. (I haven’t seen any of the 6 games played so far). You know I love sharing stories that crush stereotypes by celebrating those who are thriving and not just surviving, right? Well, this is my NBA week because I learned about two NBA powerhouses who have dedicated their lives to supporting youth. On Sunday I had the pleasure of hearing an enlightening Father’s Day message from Etan Thomas and on yesterday I heard Derek Anderson’s inspiring interview on the Tom Joyner Morning Show (audio).
Roland Martin began an introduction about a boy abandoned by his parents at 11 years old and responsible for his own survival. While shuffling from place to place he became a teen dad at 14 and was tasked with a second person to provide for. This young man worked two jobs, continued in high school, and played basketball because of the support and mentoring provided by a community of caring adults. Derek graduated high school and went on to college.