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.
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.
Welcome to part II in our blog series “Why Every Teen In Foster Care Needs A Portfolio”.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out part I in the series you can do that right here.
Our Packaged For Success™ Youth Portfolio Development Program helps foster teens put their best foot forward! During our professional portfolio development seminar, youth discover their strengths, record their achievements, create their own definition of success, and plan their future. The end result is a professional portfolio complete with employment tools, academic records, and documentation of community service activities.
5 More Reasons Why Every Teen In Foster Care Needs A Portfolio:
1. A portfolio helps teens set goals.
A portfolio contains personal goals and actions steps. Portfolio development allows teens to see themselves in the future. Writing goals down forces teens to clarify what they want and take action to may it happen. They are also able to see and celebrate their progress. Teens that are clear about what they want to accomplish in life are less likely to make destructive decisions.
Manuella is a tenth grade student in foster care in the state of New York. Manuella loves photography, creative writing, soccer, and music.
Manuella is determined to complete high school and attend college in California. She has her eyes set on higher education in San Francisco. Manuella plans to become a professional photographer. She is undecided on her college course of study but her choices include fashion photography and sports photography. If Manuella chooses to pursue fashion photography she plans to work in Milan, Italy. If she decides to pursue sports photography she will move to Georgia or back to New York upon graduation.
Manuella is wise beyond her years. Her greatest piece of advice to other teens in foster care is to never give up – never give up on any future plans, don’t give up on school, and don’t give up on people who are trying to help you. She also wants other foster teens to understand that the world doesn’t have to end because you are just as good as everyone else. “Keep going and you will make it somewhere in life,” she says. “Never look down at your situation or the reason why you’re in care because it doesn’t define who you are but what you make of your future does!”
Happy President’s Day!
What If Our President Was a Foster Care Alumni?
My last blog post focused on ways you can get involved to help teens in foster care thrive. One thing that keeps me motivated and uplifted is music. Today I want to introduce you to the song (and video) “If I Were Brave” by Jana Stanfield. I heard this song for the first time just a few weeks before my 30th birthday. I listen to it a couple times a year for an added boost of inspiration when I need it.
I dedicate this song to all teens in foster care and hope the words inspire you as you continue to persevere, stand tall, and believe in a brighter tomorrow. YOU ROCK! Here are the lyrics to “If I Were Brave”:
What would I do, if I knew that I could not fail?
If I believed, would the wind always fill up my sail?
How far would I go? What could I achieve,
trusting the hero in me?