As human beings we are all connected, and you just want to help in any way you can. I haven’t been through any of the experiences that these warriors have gone through, but I know we can uplift their voices.
– Marcus Scribner to People Magazine about NFYI members
Message From the Executive Director
Is it too late to say Happy New Year? We’re just a few short weeks into 2020, and so much has been happening at NFYI that it feels like we’re well into the year!
Take a look below at a few of the things we’ve been up to. In addition to reaching some major milestones for Shadow Day 2020, NFYI staff have been hard at work engaging youth organizers across the country, and they’re doing an incredible job of expanding our local chapters.
Their work is made possible by the generous contributions that came in at the end of the year. Between Giving Tuesday and your end-of-year gifts, donations from supporters helped propel us into a new year with big plans for developing new young leaders and tackling the issues that create enormous barriers to success for current and former foster youth: homlessness, mental health, and education.
So, I say Happy New Year, thank you for all that you do for NFYI, and I hope that I can count on you to be part of our best year yet.
Fostering Influential Change
black-ish star, Shadow Day keynote speaker and Fostering Change award winner Marcus Scribner talked about his experience supporting NFYI in People magazine this month! If you missed the January 20th issue, you can read what he had to say on Facebook. The story also included a photo from Shadow Day featuring delegate Mercedes Parson and Rep. Al Lawson. We’re thankful that Marcus is using his platform to lift up #FosterYouthVoices.
Fostering Local Change
NFYI is working with youth across the country to organize. Here’s a look at what our local chapters are up to:
Our Organizing Interns are hard at work recruiting current and former foster youth to get involved in advocacy work to address homelessness in LA County. This month they visited Rio Hondo College to talk to students, hosted a Pizza and Progress event to explore goals for organizing in LA, and they visited Senator Kamala Harris’ office in Santa Monica to meet with her staff, share their experiences, and learn more about the resources that are available to children and young adults in California. Up next, they’re hosting Tacos & Transformation on February 5th. They’ll be bringing together current/former foster youth to develop a collective, personalized resource referral sheet for transition age youth! If you’re a current/former foster youth in the LA area, your input and experience will help others find and access the resources they need to thrive. RSVP here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Michigan Chapter held a chapter retreat this past weekend where they brainstormed upcoming advocacy projects, focused on organizing and mobilizing activities to grow the chapter’s membership, and discussed policy recommendations. They are currently planning for their second annual Michigan Shadow Day and zoning in on the topic of homelessness and working with community partners to identify current legislation that has the opportunity to change this outcome for foster youth.
Our DC office is preparing to host their first-ever Open Mic Night on February 21st at 7pm. The theme is: “Love and Foster Care.” This event will be celebrating foster youth in all of their power and resiliency through the arts and expression. This is open to current/former foster youth, child welfare professionals and advocates. If you’re in the DC area and would like to perform, please click here. To RSVP to attend, click here.
The New Jersey Chapter has been working hard to grow and establish their state-wide presence. This week they are holding a series of meetings in Jersey City with NFYI staff and new chapter members and are also out and about meeting with community partners, policy makers and elected officials. In their meetings with CASA, One Simple Wish, the Department of Children and Families and NJ Assemblymember Annette Chapparo, they’ve been discussing ideas for collaboration, the interest in youth-led trainings to support childcare workers, and ways to address other difficulties youth in foster care face on a daily basis, especially relative to having adequate resources to support their higher education goals.
Fostering National Change
Regional Coordinators have been selected for the 2020 Congressional Shadow Day program! This position is our key to a successful Shadow Day. Regional Coordinators have attended Shadow Day as delegates in the past and over the next few months, they’ll receive the training and support they’ll need to be a support system for Shadow Day delegates, and they’ll learn how to facilitate workshops in Washington, DC that will prepare delegates to meet with Members of Congress. The RCs’ first job: helping select the delegates who will participate. The application closed this week, so they’re hard at work reviewing hundreds of candidates.