The following is a transcript of the speech given by one of FCNI’s most resilient and remarkable staff, Amber Davis. As you will read, Amber’s story is moving and captivating--her heart to soar above circumstances completely out of her control is nothing short of miraculous. Amber shared her story with our Benefit for Kids’ guests this past August 6th, moving the crowd to tears of heartbreak and joy. We hope you’ll enjoy learning more about Amber, and that her words will inspire you unexpected ways.
“Good Evening ladies and gentlemen! I am so thankful to see so many faces in this crowd supporting an organization that I am so passionate about. It is an honor for me to be standing up here tonight able to tell my story.
My name is Amber Davis, I am 23 years old and I am a former foster youth. Tonight, I will be sharing the ups and downs, the good and the bad, and how it all shaped me to be the person standing here tonight. Before I was placed into foster care, there was a lot of physical and emotional abuse going on [in my life], so much so that both my brothers had done stints in prison and I became very suicidal and attempted suicide three times and was placed in an institution every time. Growing up, there were many cases open against my real parents but no action was ever taken until I was 15 years old. When I was placed into foster care, I went straight into an emergency foster home where I awaited an actual foster home placement. I was in emergency care for two weeks and then I was placed into my first foster home.
Being in foster care was an incredibly hard transition for me. I was living in someone else's house, someone else's bed, with people I didn't know, and it was a very emotional time for me. During my time in foster care, I was very lucky to receive a Court Appointed Special Advocate(CASA) who fought for me and made an incredible impact on me. What I am about to share has made the biggest impact on my life and honestly shaped me more than I could have ever realized in the moment.
I was not doing well in my foster home so there was a meeting that was held to discuss my future and what was best and my entire support team was present. My real parents could not attend but phoned in during the meeting and was on speaker phone so they were included in the discussion. My social worker at the time was offering my parents to let me come back home with strict rules and regulations because there was no placements for me. My real parents announced to me and everyone else in that room, that they did not want me back and would not be taking me back. My support team was just as shocked to hear that as I was. No one was expecting that. While my team figured out what my options were, I stayed in an emergency foster home not knowing what was next for me.
In just three short weeks, my CASA volunteer went above and beyond, and met with whoever she had to, in order to give me a loving home. She and her husband decided to take me in and loved me unconditionally, and have treated me as their own. Because of Joan, my CASA, I now have my forever family. That moment of losing my biological family shaped me; lit a fire underneath me. From that moment forward, I knew I needed to be an advocate, a supporter, and ultimately I knew I needed to work hard to achieve my dreams.
Joan and Pete--my mom and my dad--was just the start to my success. I was also lucky enough to have the Independent Living Program supporting me in all my goals such as my permit, my license, and giving me the opportunity to share my life experience to a variety of audiences. Family Care Network's Transitional Aged Youth–Financial Assistance Program (TAY-FAP) financially contributed every step of the way to support me in achieving all of my dreams. Tracy Shiro, the Assistant Director of Social Services, so graciously gave me the opportunity to shadow her for a day to understand her position better as someday I would love to do what she does. Lastly, Lisa Allardyce with the Department of Education and a partner with Family Care Network and the Department of Social Services, supported me in applying to four-year universities when I was ready to transfer and most recently supported me in applying to graduate programs.
Since I started to succeed and share my life experiences, people have always told me what a survivor I am; because I survived a life that many probably couldn't. But I am not a survivor. Being a survivor means that I just barely made it out; I'm just surviving day-to-day. That is not what I am. I am a warrior. A warrior who fought her way to be where she is, who fought every step of the way to not let my past engulf me in flames but instead fought to let those flames fuel me and all that I hope to accomplish. So when you think about me, or my story and share it with your friends and family, remember to tell them that you met a warrior.
I am more than proud to announce that I have obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Sacramento State University in 2016 and that I have enrolled in my first semester at the University of Southern California for my Masters in Social Work which starts at the end of August with a planned graduation date of August, 2019. I am also currently working at Family Care Network as a Rehabilitation Specialist and continue to share my experience to better the lives of children, youth and families within this community. My hope is to become a social worker and a therapist, and change the lives of youth just like myself.
Since the day I lost my family, I’ve gained a hell of a lot more and I could not be more thankful for the Family Care Network--specifically TAY-FAP and ILP--the Department of Social Services, CASA and the Department of Education for rallying around me when I had nothing and giving me the opportunity to have everything.
Mom, Dad please stand up. Thank you so much! And a huge thank you to everyone in attendance today.”