Over the years, NFYI’s Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day has grown from a day-long event to a week-long experience packed with skill building workshops, town hall meetings, networking opportunities, forums with inspirational & celebrity speakers, educational field trips around D.C., and a gala.
That rich experience has led to increased confidence in our Shadow Day youth delegates (ages 18-30), inspiring us to expand our 2022 Shadow Day experience into a ten-month training program — the new NFYI Congressional Leadership Academy!
Delegates have now begun training in for their week-long Capitol visit months in advance, giving them the time to build a national community of foster care advocates and opportunity to apply their news skills to real world issues they are passionate about–all while receiving resources, guidance, and mentorship from NFYI staff.
After Shadow Day, Delegates are given the opportunity to develop their leadership skills by returning to D.C. during the next Shadow Day to serve as Regional Coordinators. Regional Coordinators act as group leaders, workshop facilitators, mentors, and guides for the new cohort of Delegates.
Regional Coordinator Supporters
After Delegates have served as Regional Coordinators, the next step in their Shadow Day journey is becoming Regional Coordinator Supporters. Regional Coordinator Supporters are there to offer guidance and support to our Regional Coordinators as they transition from the role of student to mentor.
The key to creating positive changes for foster youth and the child welfare system itself is through helping both foster youth and elected officials better understand how policy translates to personal experiences and vice versa. By the time they complete NFYI’s Congressional Leadership Academy, delegates will have a deeper understanding of child welfare policy priorities and how they connect to federal, state, and local levels of child welfare. Furthermore, delegates will be able to articulate how their hands-on Congressional Shadow Day experience connects to our larger efforts to educate decision makers and organize communities to reform the child welfare system.
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The National Foster Youth Institute is a youth development organization that lifts up foster youth voices to transform the child welfare system.