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I didn’t know I was this strong.

I didn’t know I was this strong.

By Sadaf Sheikh

I was born in New Jersey 21 years ago but moved as a baby to Pakistan with my parents and half-sister. Fast forward to 2018 when, halfway through my junior year at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, I moved into The New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan. Me! Living at an iconic New York landmark, built […]

The father I want to be

The father I want to be

By Dimitri Carpenter

For me, the COVID-19 crisis is happening on two levels. As a deputy with the Montgomery County Sherriff’s Office in Conroe Texas, my work life has adjusted, we are taking precautions, but it’s still basically business as usual. I am trained to keep people calm, caution them to take care, but not to panic. Our […]

I’m not giving up

I’m not giving up

By Khadija Adula

Meet 29-year old Khadija Adula. Born to Mlian parents in Congo, Brazzaville, Khadija spent much of her youth running from unsafe and unstable living situations. A recent college graduate, she dreams of being a gynecologist to protect girls in West Africa from the heinous practice of female genital mutilation.

Khadija shares her journey of resilience and realizing her dreams.

I love my NOW

I love my NOW

By Bilonda Tshimanga

I’m a junior in college, and like students across the globe, COVID- 19 has thrown everything down around me. I would have never expected school would shut down, let alone our country and much of the economy.  But it is sort of funny, having spent time in foster care actually makes me really good at […]

This is my time.

This is my time.

By Travis Schwerin

Meet Travis Schwerin. Originally from Wisconsin, Travis grew up dreaming Rosie O’Donnell was his mother. Watching Rosie on TV, he was able to see what a loving parent looked like. Unfortunately, his experiences differed greatly from what he saw. Travis entered the foster care system at the age of 7. Bouncing among various foster families and his birth mom. Now a young adult, he refuses to let his past circumstances define his life. Travis shares his experiences in the foster care system and the bright future he is building for himself. Here’s Travis’ story.

It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.

It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.

By Nawanna Snipe

Nawanna Snipe fought a long battle to adopt her daughter Deanna, now 10 years old. With her grandmother’s words of wisdom and love echoing in her ears, she has made it her primary job to ease the pain of her daughter’s past and provide a loving home.

Nawanna discusses the joys and challenges of being a mom to a child who was in the foster care system.

Here’s their story.

Running the race set before me

Running the race set before me

By Danielle Smith

Until the coronavirus arrived, the gym was one place where I lived out loud. I have a passion for fitness; it keeps me sane. Now the virus has left me at home more these days which is not the normal for me. I do have an overwhelming 18 credits I’m working toward this semester as […]

Spreading my wings

Spreading my wings

By Sandra Carpenter

Sandra Carpenter opened her home for over 16 years to 65 kids in the foster care system. After having 3 kids of her own, they extended their family, adopting 8 children. Being a foster parent isn’t the only way she has helped kids. Over 14 years ago, she opened an organization to support kinship placements and youth aging out of the system. Sandra shares her experience as a foster parent and child advocate.

Learning to Build a House with No Tools

Learning to Build a House with No Tools

By Raven Profit

Survial Skills 101 wraps up with Raven’s story today: “In my opinion, everyone has the right to be successful. In order for youth in foster care to be successful we must remove the stigma of being labeled incapable of performing academically, socially and economically because we are in the child welfare system. If anything, young people who survive the foster care system have demonstrated that they have the ability to overcome extraordinary circumstances. If provided the resources and support to attend the colleges they dream of attending — even a top college if accepted — they will succeed.

I am now working towards a bachelor’s degree with a double major and minor, am a member of one of the largest historically black Greek sororities in the nation- Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, am the Vice President of all the historically black Greek organizations at my university, am on the Executive Committee for the SUNY Albany chapter of the NAACP, am an ambassador to promote higher education for youth, and also work for the Office of Children and Family Services.” Click “Daily Spotlight” to read all of Raven’s story.

A Release Date From the Past

A Release Date From the Past

By Cherish Thomas

Survival Skills week continues with Cherish’s story. Learn about all that she endured within the foster care system and discover how she endured all of it. “I went through so many experiences, my memory had been impaired to the point that I had no timeline of the things that occurred in my life—memories seemed to bleed into each other. I didn’t have pictures or a recollection of memories reinforced throughout my childhood because even they were scattered among the multiple people and places I had bounced between.

Still, thanks to the kindness of a friend and her family, I was able to fight my way through and finish high school. My early adulthood was spent trying to put the pieces of my life together so it could make sense, give me some frame of reference, and help me find me, find who Cherish was. I had to read about a lot of my life in foster care from documents that I requested when I was 18. It is funny having to learn about yourself through written assessments from workers who visited you for not even an hour a month, if they showed up at all.

Then there was my release. I had finally grown out of the system. I found my birth parents, and while they weren’t what I expected, I learned to forgive and I have a relationship with each of them. I was blessed with a full ride to a Big Ten school. I became the first in my family to complete high school, college and graduate studies. I work in the field that I felt kidnapped and imprisoned me, to make a difference and represent hope for children who feel unloved and marred by negative experiences. I was just like them, but I was determined I WOULD NOT be another statistic, or represent the demeaning title of ‘state ward’ or ‘system child.'” Click “Daily Spotlight” to read her entire story.

COVID-19: Putting Children First

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