A Note From Our Executive Director

April has been a whirlwind. NFYI is coming of age in so many ways. We can now proudly say that NFYI has successfully transitioned from the very helpful arms of Community Partners into our own autonomous organization. Thank you Community Partners for all your support!

Both April and May mark significant times to look at the issues that concern us most. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and May is National Foster Care Month. We are preparing for a huge influx of new supporters in May by revamping our website, building the Leadership Corps, and taking 100 youth from all over the country to meet their Congressmembers in Washington to begin active dialogue.

NFYI’s Board is hard at work getting ready for our big fundraiser on May 7th. The staff has just presented a Congressional Dinner in DC on Compassionate Schools, and is looking forward to a Listening Tour later this month to learn about how Tennessee is applying the findings of neuroscience and the impact of early childhood trauma to its programs for foster youth.

Here’s a quick update on what’s been happening at NFYI since the last time you heard from us:

Compassionate Schools Congressional Dinner

On April 19th, we continued our discussion on how to support foster youth who have experienced trauma with our second Congressional dinner of the year: “Compassionate Schools: A Community Effort to Address Childhood Trauma in Foster Youth.” Our conversation was centered on how the Compassionate Schools model in Delaware is improving outcomes for foster youth.

Congressmembers and Hill staffers heard moving testimony from youth advocate and former foster youth, Maggie Boone, about the power that a single personal relationship with a caring adult who has been trained to recognize and address trauma, can have on the life of a youth that has faced adverse childhood experiences.

NFYI In The News-06 - April 2016 - Congress Representatives and Staffers Smile and Pose for a Photo

(Pictured: Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Karen Bass, Rep. NFYI staffer La Mikia Castillo, and Rep. Bobby Scott)

Meanwhile, Dr. Aileen Fink (Director for Trauma Informed Care, Delaware Children’s Department) provided a powerful overview of the history and vision of Compassionate Schools in Delaware, Eliza Hirst (Deputy Child Advocate, Delaware Courts Office of the Child Advocate) highlighted data that gave us a sobering look at the poor outcomes facing foster youth who are dealing with trauma, and Teri Lawler (School Psychologist, Red Clay Consolidated School District) helped us understand what the Compassionate School model looks like in practice and how her school is using the model to ensure that every child in their care receives the support they need to overcome obstacles in their academic and personal lives. Everyone walked away from the dinner with a clear understanding that one of the best ways we can support youth who have experienced trauma is by equipping teachers and school leaders with the training and tools they need to identify and address trauma among their students. Check out our Twitter Feed for a recap of the discussion.

DC Shadow Day

Over 100 Members of Congress have committed to spending May 25th with a foster youth from their home district, to learn more about the child welfare system from those who know it best.  Shadow Day is also a great opportunity to give the youth participating a chance to see how Congress works.

We have a compelling program of activities planned for the week, starting with a Town Hall with Members of Congress to talk about current issues affecting foster youth.  Then there will be a kickoff event featuring an episode of Freeform’s “The Fosters”, a trip to the White House, one to Andrews Air Force Base (home of Air Force One), a visit to the Human Rights Coalition headquarters, and sightseeing in DC.

Motivational speaker Michael Sanders, and former member of Run-D.M.C. Darryl McDaniels will be the special guests at the Shadow Day Luncheon, following the youths’ morning on Capitol Hill

Youth from all over the United States will be participating and for most, it will be their first time in the Nation’s Capital. Excitement abounds!.

NFYI In The News-08 - April 2016 - Large Group of Students Wearing Blue Sashes Pose in Front of the White House

Shadow Day Youth, 2015

Leadership Corps Movement Building Webinar

We have been on a roll with our series of training’s for NFYI’s Youth Leaders! Stan Yogi, the author of Wherever There’s a Fight, joined us to share his knowledge of some of the most legendary social movements to date, including the 1934 Longshoreworkers Strike and the Japanese American Internment During WWII. The Youth Leaders enjoyed and engaged with enthusiasm.

NFYI In The News-09 - April 2016 - Racial Profiling of Japanese Americans During WWII Black and White Photos

Job Shadow Cohort IX and Internships

Cohort IX finished its 3-day Job Shadowing with many diverse, successful experiences.  There were youth who got to go to the offices of elected officials, one saw the inner workings of the Children’s Law Center, and many of our other local partners provided support and job shadowing opportunities to this eager group of 12. Cohort IX brings our Job Shadowing total to well over 100 Los Angeles area youth – and there are three young adults currently completing NFYI Internships.

NFYI In The News-10 - April 2016 - Students Pose with Certificates After a Successful Shadow Day

Final Thoughts

As always, we appreciate whatever help you can give, whether it’s your time or your financial support. If you can donate, please click here. Every dollar makes a difference. If you have time or in-kind donations to offer, just let me know and we’ll find a way for you to contribute.

With our heartfelt thanks,

Lilla G. Weinberger

Executive Director