So I went to United Friends of the Children’s Celebration Graduation last night. It was really cool! Every year since 1990, UFC and DCFS throw this event where they honor foster youth with scholarships. Last night, 132 youth received scholarships that added up to something like $936,000. What I didn’t realize before is that it’s not like this money is divided up equally among all of the students, but each student gets whatever amount they need to pay for their schooling. So, if you are going to Mission College and your Financial Aid doesn’t pay for everything, Celebration will cover the rest. If you’re going to Brown University, a private school with a much higher tuition, Celebration will cover whatever Financial Aid doesn’t cover (which could be something like $30,000).
It was a pretty nice event: people cheering for the people they knew on stage, speeches, smiling faces, and celebrity guests (Jada Pinkett Smith and Paul Rodriguez). I knew two students graduating. One was a girl who came to our Financial Aid workshop and, unfortunately, dropped out of my very first Life Skills module. The other was one of our best students in one of our modules named Raelene. She’s planning on going to Pierce to study nursing. Amalia Lopez, truly a great woman, actually gave Raelene a ride to both the event itself and to the orienation for the event. As a Transitional Coordinator, she’s always helpful and responsive to her youth. Three cheers for Amalia! Hip Hip Hooray! X 3
So, if you or anyone you know plans on attending college (2 or 4 year) or vocational school in the fall of 2011, there’s the UFC website. See if you/he/she qualify for any of these
So………………………………… I went to an event last night in West Hollywood that was put on by the California Youth Connection. CYC is this organization that gets foster youth together and, aside from giving them a place to meet and support each other, advocates for foster youth rights at the local and state level. They meet with the head of Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) once a month and go to Sacramento to affect legislation. Right now, Gov. Schwarzenegger is cutting something like $80 million from the child welfare program, in addition to other social welfare programs. So, CYC went up to Sacramento this past weekend to protest the Governor’s decision. Though we’re not sure if this had any immediate effect, the youth were able to connect with the state politicians in a fundamental way, shadowing them around the office for a day to share their stories and be exposed to a life in politics.
But the event (with big sponsors like NASCAR, 107.1 Radio Estrella, Service Employess International Union, and the city of West Hollywood) was pretty awesome. Foster and former foster youth from LA county got together and made art inspired by their stories of dealing with the foster care system. So, each piece of art (ranging from paintings to photographs to poetry) had a sentence or two about what the art represented to the artist and a clipboard hanging underneath it where you could place a bid. I brought my friends and we all bid on some art and won it! 75% of the purchase went to the artist while 25% went to CYC. We talked to a few CYC employees, a couple youth, and Earnie Sherard, a really great guy who’s been working in the system for a long, long time.
So, it was good! That’s the point! I’m going to scan the art I bought and get my friends to do the same and I’ll post that stuff.
This study on PTSD suffered by prostitutes shows evidence of PTSD suffered by those in close proximity to prostitutes. “This phenomenon has been described by a number of terms, including indirect traumatization, and has been documented among children of Holocaust survivors, wives of combat soldiers,and therapists who treat trauma victims. A number of terms describe the negative impacts that result from working with traumatized victims, including ‘burnout’, ‘compassion fatigue’, ‘secondary traumatic stress’, and more recently ‘vicarious traumatization’.” So if there’s secondary traumatic stress, then maybe those who are close to the people who are close to the PTSD sufferers have some “tertiary stress” and those who are close to the people who are close to the people close to PTSD sufferers have quarternary stress and so on and so on forever…
Hey, everyone! So, this FRIDAY, April 16th from 4 to 6 pm, we’re starting our foster youth club. It’s starting out as a workshop, but it’s basically a chance for foster youth to connect, share music, art, ideas, and resources. Jason, our peer mentor from Life Skills/ILP is going to be heading it. There will also be a class for foster parents at the same time where they can get their renewal hours. It’s at Los Angeles Mission College, Collaborative Studies Building Room 111. There will be food! Please come! Bring any music or art or poetry or anything you want to share! See ya Friday!
Next week, April 16th, at 4 pm, Los Angeles Mission College will have its first Foster Youth Club meeting. 13356 Eldridge Ave., Sylmar, CA 91342. It will look a lot like this picture.
My mom, who I think went to school with Dr. Levey, sent me this article. It seems as though the Divine Works are working properly…
great article about the setbacks that foster children have when applying to college.
here’s one interesting thing that Texas A & M is doing to help the ease some of the problems associated with being in foster care:
“Together with the state department of child welfare, Texas A & M University at Commerce offers a four-year, $1,000 per year scholarship to help pay for room and board for foster youth who qualify. Each student is paired with a faculty or staff mentor and a sponsor family in the community.”
Ok, so 6.7 billion people on the planet:
Individual personalities connected to one another through 1.) immediate family and friends, 2.) extended family and aquantinces, 3.) neighborhoods, classmates, teachers, store clerks, 4.) cities and towns, 5.) counties, 6.) states and departments, 7.) nations, and 8.) continents. Their lives, whether they know it or not, affect each other regularly like drops of water in an ocean.
Here the plot thickens.
The lives of the people are entirely dependent on the lives before them and will direct the lives after them, which is complicated by the social institutions of the past and the institutions at present. The social structure is inescapable.
Historically disenfranchised groups find themselves struggling to climb out of poverty, fighting against unemployment, drug addiction, crime, and the prison system with aid from weak and disorganized social welfare agencies. Organizations and political groups compete for their individual causes such as the right to bear arms, pro-choice, pro-life, campaign finance reform, tobacco taxes forever and ever into infinity. Wealthy people invest to make their power and influence increase so that they can access luxury and comfort of unimaginable proportions: fifty women of your choosing, pure and uncut methamphetamine, the right to murder without consequence. According to an Australian traveller who told me about when he did it: in Cambodia, you can rent a rocket launcher for $100 to shoot at and explode a cow from long range. “It was ridiculous.”
Across the board, mental illness exists in the form of depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders, sociopathy. People hurt the ones they love. School sucks. Patients sue doctors and police shoot victims. After two years in office, Barack Obama is still trying to pass the same health care reform legislation and everyone is yelling at each other about it.
Is it possible to get 6.7 billion people to work in concert?
So I am being forced to write this blog and to be quite honest, I am not sure where or how to begin. My co-worker Michael has -for the last month- been pressuring me to write a blog post and after being blackmailed on Facebook, I am now writing. Thank you Michael.
So I should probably start off by introducing myself: my name is Valeria, I work in the Foster and Kinship Care Department at Los Angeles Mission College which is located in Sylmar, California.
Basically, I’m an eighteen year old kid who lives in the Valley, dreams of joining the Peace Corps and traveling to help the children of third world countries, in particular kids in Romania (I’m not Romanian nor have I ever traveled there, but I have this unexplainable desire to go to Romania and help)…or Russia ( I have unexplainable thing for Russia too. Not Russian and have never been there; although once, for 9th grade geography class, I did a group project on Russia)or somewhere in Latin America where I will be forced to put my High School Spanish class skills to the ULTIMATE test and fail miserably.
Which brings me to my current job: working for the Foster and Kinship Care Education Department in LAMC. To be one hundred percent honest, at first I did not really understand what foster or kinship care was or how a mere 17 year old “Valley Girl” could help. But after working in the department for a year, I have grown to understand the desperate need to inform and spread the word of Foster/Kinship care and that anyone can make a difference -even a now 18 year old “Valley Girl”.
Working for the FKCE Department has fostered my burning desire to help people who have lead difficult lives, and has allowed me to want to strive in all that I could to bring awareness and support to the youth who find themselves in our foster/probation system; ultimately, inspiring others to become active in reforming the system for today’s youth who -let me remind you- will be tomorrow’s future tax-payers whom will keep you all nice and comfy in your retirement homes =]. And don’t we all want to be nice and comfy living in Florida? I sure do.
So lets make a difference in our foster and probation youth’s lives, people!
So as the Great Philosopher Tigger once said “Well, I gotta go now. I’ve got a lotta bouncin’ to do! Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo! T-T-F-N: ta-ta for now!”,