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Mockingbird Times - April, 2014

IF Project Helps Youth Take the Right Path

Co-Founder of The IF Project, Kim Bogucki

The IF Project is a program created by Detective Kim Bogucki from the Seattle Police Department. It started when she asked a single question to a group of inmates — “What if someone could have said or done something to keep you from ending up on the path that led you here?” That question led one inmate to make sure all of her peers answered the question as well. The answers were all about support. Most of the inmates who answered said more support would have kept them off of the path that led them to prison. When Kim heard those stories and pleas for help, she realized she could have these inmates help others to keep from going down the same path. She now brings ex-convicts to schools to help show children what can help them not go on the path to self-destruction and criminal behavior.

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Blood is Not Always Thicker than Water

Dawna Evans (left) with Jerrica Long at Youth Advocacy Day 2013

I was born to a developmentally disabled mother and absentee father, both of whom were addicted to drugs and alcohol. Neither biological parent had the ability to care for one child, let alone twins. My sister and I were abandoned by our “mother” and dropped off on the doorstep of our biological maternal grandmother. Growing up with my biological grandmother was chaotic. My life was full of inconsistencies and dysfunction. I always felt like I did not belong there. Not only did I not have a place to call home but I was constantly bullied at school because I wore hand-me down clothes. Child Protective Services entered my life at a very young age. My grandmother always coached us on what to say whenever the social worker interviewed us. She would always say, “Don’t you forget, blood is always thicker than water you don’t want to end up in foster care. You belong with blood family, and not with a stranger.”

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Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor

The Mockingbird Society entered the 2014 session with an ambitious agenda of youth-inspired, community supported priorities. All of our priorities faced very real possibilities of failing this year at different points during the session.

But our youth never gave up, and as a result every one of our priorities passed in 2014!

This unprecedented success despite daunting odds is thanks in large part to an incredible community effort to support our youth advocates. All of us at The Mockingbird Society thank you for keeping the pressure on our elected leaders with emails and phone calls. Our collective efforts resulted in reforms that will improve the lives of over 10,000 youth in Washington’s foster care system, and more than 30,000 homeless youth across Washington State.

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Nothing to Fear, Part One

This is Part 1 of a two part series by former Mockingbird intern, Lamar Campbell, who shares his journey through the W.A.G.E.S. progam and as an intern for The Mockingbird Society.

My experience through the Working to Achieve Growth in Employment Skills (W.A.G.E.S.) program and The Mockingbird Society has been an amazing one. This past eight weeks has solidified my goals and given me the confidence, motivation and self-knowledge to pursue them. W.A.G.E.S is a work readiness program funded by the YMCA.

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Welcome to the Nest, Degale and Erin!

Please help me welcome Degale Cooper, our new Director of Family Programs!

Degale Cooper & Erin Hatheway

Degale graduated from the University of Washington’s Master’s in Social Work program in 2003. She has been working in the human services field since the age of 19 when she landed her first job as a house counselor providing peer support to runaway youth. She worked for what used to be called The Shelter on Beacon Hill. It is a non-profit serving runaway youth ages 12-18. The program is part of YouthCare and has since morphed into a more extensive support network for young people experiencing homelessness.

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“Leave Me Alone” & “Downpour”

“Leave Me Alone”
by Wesley Robinson

Torn between stress and depression
Hoping my emotions lessen
Time to pack up and leave again
I’ve been here a year — will I make new friends?
Everyone at school whispers and stares
Everyone I meet acts real scared
That’s it!!!!!! I’m done, I’m running away
Running by night, hiding by day

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“What was your most memorable advocacy moment from this past legislative session?”

“I loved when we worked on the chants for Youth Advocacy Day. We worked on posters as well. I loved how we all came together as a team to put together something amazing, and getting to see the outcome was amazing...

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