on foster care issues:

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

| April 7th, 2015

Cute little girl holding pinwheel at parkOur work at Foster Care to Success is so intrinsically tied this issue, as some people fail to realize: children in the foster care system are not bad kids, rather they’ve had bad things happen to them.

Every year, about 3 million cases of child abuse are reported in the United States, most of which are placed in the foster care system. While the statistics are grave, our society continually strives to build a safer and more equitable home for communities, families and most importantly children.

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What’s the Latest News in Foster Care Legislation?

| March 31st, 2015

Hot off the pressFrom national headlines to local news, the foster care field is a hot topic. All across the nation child welfare advocates continue working tirelessly to improve the experiences of youth in and out of foster care.

Want to learn about the latest news in foster care legislation? Check out some of the most recent proposed laws on behalf of foster youth:

Giving Credit where it’s Due

No matter their duration in foster care, youth need adequate, appropriate, caring support—and U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp is working to ensure more families can offer this care.

On March 5, 2015, Heitkamp reintroduced the Foster Care Tax Credit Act, which would ensure families who care for children for shorter periods of time are eligible for tax credits.

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Aim Higher Alum Creates Change at Her University

| March 31st, 2015

Bette Maisel14Bette Maisel is a 2014 Aim Higher Fellow attending Notre Dame de Namur University. As a senior at NDNU, Maisel is leveraging her Aim Higher experience to design a program to support other foster youth attending her university.

“The program will create healthier experiences for students transitioning from high school to college. We want to help find for these students the essentials they need for living on campus but most importantly offer them support from people who can understand and point them in the right direction,” said Taylor Dewees, a former foster youth and Maisel’s partner in developing this foster youth program.

Maisel attended Aim Higher’s two-week intensive program in Washington D.C. last summer and developed communication skills to publicly speak to the foster care community; she now hopes to give back to foster youth similar to her in order to support their postsecondary needs.

“I hope that the foster youth at NDNU will feel supported. I hope that it will lay the foundation for their future careers and they’ll have year-round housing, and consider this place a home,” said Maisel.

Foster Care to Success encourages our students and Aim Higher Fellows to not only dream big, but to execute the visions they believe will transform challenges into solutions. Maisel currently has 11 students in the foster program at NDNU, she and her team hope to reach other students in similar situations in order to scale the impact they imagine.

Best wishes Bette! Keep up the amazing work, and always Aim Higher!

 

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6 Ways to Search for a Summer Internship

| March 31st, 2015

Business man pointing the text: InternshipThe end of spring break means summer is right around the corner! As you make plans for how and where to spend those upcoming summer months, why not consider putting yourself one step ahead of the competition and apply for an internship?

Interning boosts your resume and makes you stand out from the crowd because employers look for extracurricular activities on top of your degree. Working at an internship will also help you develop the skills employers look for, including communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, making you a strong candidate for today’s competitive job market.

Don’t know where to begin your internship search? Check out the following tips on ways to find a summer internship:

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Is Temping Right For You?

| March 26th, 2015

tempingIs graduation looming? Are you unsure of where you want to work or what you want to do? What if you could work on short term assignments to better understand what you like or don’t like?

You can.

It’s called temping.

So, what is temping?

                          photo by: Fotolia

Temping is exactly how it sounds: temporarily working in a position for a finite period of time. Usually, businesses will hire temps to fill in for employees on leave or if the position is in transition.

When you work as a temp, you work for the agency and they call you in when there is a need at an appropriate organization.  There are many kinds of staffing agencies; some are general, some specialize in certain jobs, like accounting, management or computer technology.  Expect to be interviewed the same as for any job, and you may have to take tests to measure your skills.

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“Lost Childhoods,” First-of-its-Kind and Largest Collection of Foster Youth Memorabilia

| March 19th, 2015

museum-246222_1280Life is a series of moments and memories, sometimes captured in photos or memorabilia that tell stories of tragedy and triumph. Regardless of the theme, stories can help us heal, inspire us to grow, and define our purpose.

Foster youth have a myriad of stories that shed light and awareness on our current system; for the first time these stories are being highlighted in an art exhibit to display a spectrum from discovering love in an intentional, diverse and compassionate family to enduring challenges that can move us to tears.

Lost Childhoods is an art exhibit displaying 50 artifacts, art and videos from former foster youth; currently it is on display in Oakland, California. It is the largest collection of foster youth memorabilia and first exhibition of its kind; “a testament to the resilience of foster youth and how far they’ve come,” says Jeanie Yoon, co-director of the Foster Youth Museum who majored in sociology at UC Berkeley.

The exhibit is presented  in partnership with California Youth Connection and the Y.O.U.T.H. Training Project, is open to the public every Saturday in March from 1 to 5 p.m. at Warehouse 416 in Oakland’s Uptown district.

Lost Childhoods is a unique way to tell stories that will bridge the gap between the foster care system and society.  It can play a significant part in resolving the challenges that are represented in the lost teddy bear, underpants from juvenile hall, and worn out sneakers displayed in the exhibit. At the very least, the visual representations will bring tangible awareness to a pressing issue: our youth need more.

Read more success stories.

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New Documentary Showcases World of Foster Care Through Animation, Community Storytelling

| March 14th, 2015

Current and former foster youth are joining their voices to reframe the discussion about foster care—one YouTube video at a time.

Using video, animation, storytelling and social media, the Foster Care Film and Community Engagement Project offers the foster care community various ways to share experiences and enlighten others about the world of foster care.

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Study: California School Districts Seek Effective Ways to Develop Support for Foster Youth

| March 14th, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAccording to a new report on foster youth and California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), many school districts in the state have faced obstacles as they strive to properly support the needs of foster youth. Coupled with the trauma and multiple home and school placements foster youth experience, lack of support, the report explains, can produce poor educational outcomes, which “lead to profound consequences in adulthood.”

The report, Foster Youth and the Early Implementation of the LCFF: Not Yet Making the Grade, was conducted by SRI Education and J. Koppich and Associates on behalf of the National Center for Youth Law. Although school districts have taken steps to support foster students, findings show significant gaps between California’s focus on highlighting foster youth as a target group and the current support systems of the state and its counties and districts for this vulnerable group.

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Global Skills Study Reveals American Millennials Fall Behind International Peers

| March 13th, 2015

formula-594149_1280According to the Pew Research Center, in 2015 the number of Millennials in America will surpass Baby Boomers, making Gen Y the largest generation in our nation.

Yet, the popular concept, “strength in numbers,” doesn’t prove true for this group of young workers—at least when it comes to literacy and arithmetic skills.

According to a new report, America’s Skills Challenge: Millenials and the Future, young American workers today consistently score below many of their international peers in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving.

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Former Foster Youth Gives Back Through Heart 2 Heart Charity

| March 13th, 2015

heart-462873_1280Albert Einstein once said, “A life lived for others, is the only life worth living.” Jodie Williams is a great example of this.

Williams is the founder of Heart 2 Heart, a small nonprofit of volunteers in Solano County, CA dedicated to helping local foster youth.

According to an article on dailyrepublic.com, Heart 2 Heart’s “goal is to break the cycle that sees many foster children ending up homeless within two years of getting out of the foster care system.”

At any given time, the organization works with 200 foster youth, the article explains, “providing them with the necessities of life as well as referrals to programs that can also help them.” Recently, Heart 2 Heart handed out bags to students at Solano Community College, assisting them with a range of goods from household items to school supplies.

This organization is an excellent example of how a community can work together and significantly impact a foster youth aging out of the system—a type of support, unfortunately, one former foster youth did not receive.

“I owe them these things, things that I did not have,” the article quotes Williams explaining her past, which included living out of a car. After moving to Solano County and discovering the lack of programs helping foster youth exiting the system, Williams hopped on Facebook, rallied her friends around the cause and Heart 2 Heart was born.

Read the full story about Williams and Heart 2 Heart here and discover how you can support this organization at www.facebook.com/Heart2HeartSolanoCounty.

FC2S thanks Jodie Williams and all the Heart 2 Heart volunteers for their service and commitment to a “life lived” for foster youth!

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