A Platform For Teen Males in Foster Care
May is National Foster Case Awareness Month. The Teen Toolbox is opening our blog as a platform to spread inspiration and hope by highlighting the stories (successes and challenges) of teen males in the foster care system. We invite you to SHARE YOUR STORY. If the difficulties of life in the foster care system have not prevented you from achieving your goals or helping others move forward and you would like to be interviewed for a blog that will be released during National Foster Care Awareness Month please contact me at: NickiATtheteentoolboxDOTcom for additional information.
We want to hear from:
Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
What does “A Teen’s Life Is Worth Documenting” mean to you?
For a child in the foster care system it probably means those words that are written about them in their personal file. You know the file that precedes them at every meeting, placement, and court hearing. The file that attempts to explain the reason they entered foster care, the length of time in the system, the changes in schools, the number of foster placements, health concerns, and any mental health screenings and diagnoses. The file containing this documentation is extremely important right? Essential even?!
I’m not speaking of the file that documents the thoughts and judgments of countless social workers, lawyers, doctors, and educators and barely contains the views of the youth in foster care. The accomplishments, aspirations, and support systems in a teen’s life are worth documenting. Every teen is unique and full of promise and potential. My teens document their lives in a professional portfolio — a visual tool that gives employers, recruiters, scouts, and mentors a complete picture of who you are. I believe that a professional portfolio can be an integral element not only in building skills and confidence in youth but also in helping them develop and maintain crucial personal and professional connections.
During a recent presentation, a high school student asked if she should wear her school uniform to her job interview at a fast food restaurant the following day. Here are the facts – the young lady has a half day schedule at school and the potential employer is aware that she is a student and instructed her to come right after school. My answer was that she shouldn’t wear her school uniform to her interview if she had the ability to bring a change of clothing to school with her and change into it in ten minutes or less.
Young people need to know how to truly “dress for success”. Have you explained to your youth that fabric, color, length, fit, and style matter? Just because a student is wearing a skirt or a pair of slacks doesn’t mean they’re dressed professionally. Whether interviewing for a part-time position, applying for seasonal or summer work, or attending a college fair students should dress “up” with the option of going casual later if the environment permits.