Statement from NFYI Executive Director Sally Fairman on the Passing of Dosha Joi

Dear National Foster Youth Institute Family:

It is with deep regret and sadness that I inform you of the passing of one of our members. Dosha Joi succumbed to COVID-19 related complications early this morning at a Wisconsin hospital. Dosha, who also went by DJay, was a powerful advocate for children in foster care, an inspiring speaker, and a loving and supportive friend to many. On behalf of all of NFYI: our thoughts, hearts, and prayers are with DJay’s family and friends right now.

DJay’s family is planning a memorial service for him in Wisconsin and will share details with us as soon as they’re available. Additionally, NFYI is working with his family and friends on a virtual memorial for those who are unable to attend in person. If you’d like to help with the planning, please reach out to Rebecca Louve Yao at [email protected]. For media inquiries, please reach out to Mariah Craven at [email protected].

DJay’s death will be a deeply-felt loss for our community. Many of you may have met him at the 2019 Congressional Shadow Day, where he was known for his enthusiasm, friendliness, and not being afraid to grab a microphone to share words of encouragement. During Shadow Day, he developed a strong relationship with Wisconsin Rep. Gwen Moore, and the two have stayed in touch as DJay moved his advocacy forward.

DJay was studying to be a nurse, served as a CASA, was a member of FosterClub, and received multiple Champion for Change Awards from the Wisconsin Department of Child and Family Services. His goal was to do as much as possible to help youth aging out of care with mental health, addiction, and independent living skills. Late last year, he wrote this piece of advice to our community for the NFYI newsletter:

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.

I can’t express how saddened we are by DJay’s death. We will honor his memory by continuing the work he was so dedicated to: fighting for children and young adults in care.