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15 November 2019

September 2019 Newsletter

Headlines:

  • Message from the Executive Director
  • Fostering a Legacy of Change
  • Fostering Grassroots Change
  • Fostering Youth-Led Change
  • Fostering Policy Change
  • Fostering Thoughtful Change

 

Quote of the Month:

“Foster youth, just like anyone else, need love and compassion to navigate this life. Love yourself a little extra today.” – Brina Williams, NFYI Michigan Chapter, writing for the Lansing Journal

 

Message from the Executive Director

In November, NFYI will be hosting An Afternoon of Learning and Celebration and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this annual gathering in Los Angeles. It promises to be an inspiring, fun, and informative afternoon.

I’m particularly excited about the awards we’ll be presenting. We’ll be honoring LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl with the Champion for Children Award. And we’ll also recognize actor and Shadow Day speaker Marcus Scribner with the Raising Awareness Award.

If you live in the LA area or are planning to come, I hope that we can count on you to join us and support the work that we’re doing across the country. You can find details about sponsorship opportunities and tickets here.

 

Sincerely,

Sally Fairman, Executive Director

 

Fostering a Legacy of Change

Our hearts go out to the family of Emily England Clyburn, who passed away earlier this month. Dr. Em was a civil rights activist, librarian, and a champion for children who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to send students to her alma mater. She was married to Rep. Jim Clyburn, the House Majority Whip. The two met when they were arrested for participating in a civil rights demonstration in 1960. Learn more about her life and legacy here.

 

Fostering Grassroots Change

NFYI is hiring organizing interns to work in our Los Angeles office, mobilize current and former foster youth in LA County and lift up the collective youth voice! Interns must be current or former foster youth and will earn $20 per hour for up to 20 hours a week for six months. Please consider applying OR forward this email to someone who you think would be the right fit. Our application can be filled out right online.

 

Fostering Youth-Led Change

Earlier this month, six members of our Michigan chapter gathered near Lansing for a retreat to plan their next Shadow Day. During the planning and training retreat, they discussed policies they want to advocate for and tactics for getting and staying in touch with members of the Michigan state legislature. They’re looking forward to spending a day in Lansing in [month??]!

 

Fostering Policy Change

With Congress back in session this month and big child welfare moves in states across the country, a lot happened in the policy and legislative world in September. Here are some things we’re keeping our eyes on:

The House Financial Services Committee unanimously passed a foster youth housing bill that would provide Federal housing assistance to youth aging out of foster care. We’ll let you know what happens to this bill as it continues to move through the House.

Michigan’s child welfare agency announced that it will work with any interested local court system to help access new federal funds available for the legal representation of parents and children in child welfare courts.

This month, Texas began an expanded program to offer additional resources to youth transitioning out of foster care. The new law gives young adults access to mental health services, life skills classes, and financial lessons.

Michigan’s Children — one of our partners in organizing Michigan Shadow Day — held its first-ever Relative Care Day at the state Capitol. They brought care-giver advocates from across the state to advocate for better policies to support their families.

 

Fostering Thoughtful Change

Dosha “DJay” Joi attended the 2019 Shadow Day in Washington, DC where he was known for inspiring other participants with his enthusiasm and wise words. After reflecting on his experience, he wrote this advice to other advocates:

Having the opportunity to participate in Shadow Day gave me a chance to learn how to become a better advocate, not only on a local level, but at the state and national levels. The week I spent in DC allowed me to meet new friends and create extraordinary relationships I couldn’t have imagined. You never know who you will meet when dealing with other advocates. You meet individuals that have the same passion, growth, inspiration, and the willpower to change the system on many different levels. Now that you understand what making a new friend through NFYI means to me, I want to talk about how to engage those friends and other people we met during Shadow Day.

Nowadays, the younger generation will resort to social media contacts and texting. But I want to remind everyone that a phone call can do a lot. It does a lot for someone’s interpersonal skills, lets you share advocacy ideas, and shows that you value the person you’re calling. Calling a friend and saying, “hi, how are you?” and “what’s new with you?”. Those questions change the soul and provide a sense of hope, peace, and letting the other person know that you care. It provides a sense of validation and an understanding of strong emotional self-care. These calls are important between friends, family, associates, and the decision-makers we want to build relationships with.

Thanks to DJay for the great advice! If you or someone you know is interested in Shadow Day, keep an eye out on your email for the application to attend. It will be available later this fall.

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