I know I don’t act the way you want me to. And I know you don’t understand why. I know you look at me and think I am just oppositional, a pain in the butt. You judge me and wonder what is wrong with me, why can’t I just act “normal”? Believe me when I tell you, I don’t know why I can’t either. I want to act “normal,” I want you to love me and to be the perfect child for you. I want to be happy. But something inside me won’t let me. And it hurts. My thoughts are always racing out of my control. I want to crawl out of my skin. Why am I this way?
There is such joy, excitement, and freedom that comes with moving into your first apartment. It can also be frightening navigating new environments and experiences. These highs and lows are emphasized when working with the “Foster Youth to Independence” Voucher. The Foster Youth to Independence Voucher, or FYI voucher, is a new statewide program that provides housing choice vouchers to former foster youth who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.
Jensen wasn’t a kid used to getting or giving second chances. He lost his parents when he was young and spent most of his childhood bouncing between extended family members, family friends, and foster homes. He endured physical and emotional abuse from people he was told to trust, so by the time he was in his early teens, he didn’t trust anyone. By then, he’d become a ward of the state and his Social Worker, Lacey, wanted nothing more than to find him a safe and stable home. But Jensen wasn’t interested.
While I know that “It takes a village to raise a child” has become a tired cliche used to promote ideological purposes without ever being appropriately attributed to any specific “village” (to date, no one has figured out where this phrase actually originates from), you’ll have to forgive me when I say that I still really like it. This phrase evokes so many emotions--togetherness, collaboration, acceptance, worthiness, belonging. In current American culture, these feelings are critical, right?
Emily Dickinson wrote:
"Hope" is the thing with feathers —
That perches in the soul —
And sings the tune without the words —
And never stops — at all —
And sweetest — in the Gale — is heard —
And sore must be the storm —
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm —
I've heard it in the chillest land —
And on the strangest Sea —
Yet — never — in Extremity,
It asked a crumb — of me.”
March 17, 2020 was a day that forever changed the landscape of the world as I knew it…it was the day I began working from home due to the uncertainty of COVID-19. Since that day, the only thing constant in my life--personally and professionally--has been change. There is such irony in that thought! My one constant is change.
The Mountain Air is a local business who have found unique supportive ways to help our mission. They not only have held generous fundraising events to benefit FCNI, but they recently invited our youth to participate in designing and executing a community art project, enabling her to express herself in a safe and encouraging environment. Read more about Josh and Lindsey Haring of The Mountain Air to learn more about why they support us and why they chose our youth for this very special art project.
Rosa entered college undocumented and transitioning from foster care. These two life experiences meant that she faced more obstacles than almost all of her freshmen peers. The only thing that was for certain for Rosa, was that nothing was certain. She had dreams--big dreams--but she wasn’t fully sure if they would be attainable. All she really knew was that she had the drive and the determination to do her part to achieve her goals; all she needed was a little support to go the full distance.
Gratitude can come from suffering, hope from devastation, and intentionality from chaos.
I foster every day...I encourage and promote growth and healing in the lives of my bio children and in the youth who I mentor. If I were just to tell you that I foster, you probably and most likely, would think that I am talking about “foster care.”