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21 September 2016

September Newsletter

Headlines:

A Note From Our Executive Director

NFYI Goes to Community Coalition Power Fest

Homelessness Action Committee

The Biggest Challenge to a Foster Youth’s Education

Jimmy Duong is Going Back to School!

Final Thoughts

executive-director-national-foster-youth-instituteA Note From Our Executive Director

What a whirlwind start to what always feels to me like the new year!

  • The Leadership Corps has really taken off in September, planning an event to raise awareness of homelessness and foster youth.
  • We’ve begun the long awaited process of assessing exactly what is most important to the foster care community so that our policy platform directly reflects their voices.
  • There’s a Congressional Dinner coming up in DC to look at how the need for better mental health services affects families in the child welfare system.
  • We’re going to Moreno Valley and Alabama in October to learn about the great work they are doing to improve the lives of foster youth and address the their challenges.
  • And we are looking forward to our first national foster youth retreat in December to set our course for the future.

Whew!

We look to you to help keep the momentum going. Your donations are what make all this great work possible.

Thank you!

NFYI Goes to Community Coalition Power Fest

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(Top left: Evelyn Rodriguez. Top right: Laura Lomeli, Diogenese Dillard, Johna Rivers, Evelyn Rodriguez. Bottom left: Diogenese Dillard, Jimmy Duong, and Laura Lomeli)

On September 17, NFYI participated in the Community Coalition Power Fest. The annual CoCo Power Fest is a family friendly event that includes a number of informative activities. Some of the activities include: a health tent, voting booth, food trucks, games for children and an empowerment tent. That’s where NFYI comes in. We had a resource table for attendees eager to learn more about what they can do to help transform the foster care system.

NFYI and four of our young leaders from the Leadership Corps, talked to attendees on the issues and our solutions and had an absolute blast doing it. We look forward to participating in Coco’s Power Fest every year!

Homelessness Action Committee

homelessness-action-committee-collage-of-3-photos-various-group-activities

(Homelessness Action Committee)

Just over three weeks ago, some of NFYI’s Leadership Corps in Los Angeles, formed a group to raise awareness about homelessness and its impact on foster youth. With Proposition HHH on the ballot this November, they wanted to make sure that there is greater community understanding of the many ways lack of housing, especially for young people, affects their lives.

So far the group has learned about the importance of giving direct voice to their experience from Congressmember Karen Bass, the basics of community organizing from Gloria Molina of SCOPE in South Los Angeles, and begun organizing an event to bring people together to learn more.

This is organizing by doing, and we think it’s the best way to learn. The event will be on October 22nd, and we’ll keep you posted about the time and place as it comes together. Please join us if you can.

Foster Youth Focus Group

foster-youth-focus-group-collage-of-3-photos-students-sitting-in-chairs

(Karen Bass, Dr.Grills, Lilla Weinberger and Focus Group Participants)

Two weeks ago, NFYI hosted a focus group to gain deeper insight on what current and former foster youth need from the foster care system.

Dr. Cheryl Grills, a psychology professor at Loyola Marymount University, led the group of 15 young adults. The conversation was filled with raw and honest personal experiences. The youths’ narratives and first-hand accounts in the foster care system and beyond, will be developed into a national survey for foster youth all over the country. This is the beginning of building an issues platform to guide the work of the Leadership Corps locally and nationally.

The Biggest Challenge to a Foster Youth’s Education

biggest-challenge-to-a-foster-youths-education-shari-walker-graduateShari Walker, who is one of the founding members of NFYI’s Homelessness Action Committee, recently spoke on KPPC’s Take Two. She emphasized that “foster youth move around to so many homes [and]… end up going to so many different schools, [that]…there’s no real stability. They aren’t able to build solid relationships, so school becomes less and less of a priority at each move.”

You can listen to Shari’s entire interview here.

 

Jimmy Duong is Going Back to School!

jimmy-duong-is-going-back-to-school

 (Homelessness Action Committee)

Jimmy Duong starts graduate school at UCLA this week. He served as our outstanding Program Associate for the past year. He helped expand our Job Shadow and Internship Program, managed our office needs, and researched grant opportunities. We will miss Jimmy and know he will be an amazing, inspiring educator in the near future!

Final Thoughts  

November 29th is Giving Tuesday. Please consider adding NFYI to your list of favorites. You will be empowering a whole new generation of foster community leaders who will know how to make their ideals and dreams real.

Hope your fall season is both joyful and productive!

Lilla Weinberger

Executive Director

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