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Mockingbird Times - May, 2016

Mockingbird times 

 

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It’s a Wrap! Legislative Review

The Mockingbird Society is known as a legislative advocacy organization, but have you ever wondered how we actually do advocacy? Let’s break it down into four steps: issue development, defining solutions, refining proposals, and mobilization/direct advocacy. Beginning in spring, youth start discussing issues they would like to see changed in order to improve foster care and end youth homelessness...

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Where Are They Now?

When you are marching on the Capitol at Youth Advocacy Day and screaming at the top of your lungs, it can be easy to forget that you are chanting only about a handful of issues. Weren’t there a lot more topics that all of the Mockingbird Youth Network (MYN) chapters were tackling half a year ago? What ever happened to those?

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Letter from the Executive Director

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Friends and Allies,

Our young people’s advocacy and boldness to share their stories, the leadership and determination of legislative champions, and the collaborative efforts of our partners had a huge impact during the 2016 legislative session. This past year, the young people involved in Mockingbird programs across the state worked hard to develop a thoughtful and well-researched advocacy agenda to address the needs...

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Improving Foster Care Locally and Overseas

Valerie Skelton in Japan

I am an alumni representative in an organization called the International Foster Care Alliance (IFCA). IFCA’s mission is to collaborate with current and former foster youth internationally in order to improve the foster care system on a global level. We lead advocacy workshops teaching foster youth valuable skills, share our stories in hopes to create positive policy change in both nations and maintain the world’s first bilingual blog written about foster care by current/former foster youth. I have traveled to Japan with this organization three times and each trip has been very eye-opening for me.

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The Stigma of Prison

Foster care and prison are systems that unfortunately go hand in hand in many people’s lives. These two broken systems continue a vicious cycle of addiction, abuse, violence and neglect.

Like so many exiting the foster care system, I was faced with a tough choice: sign myself into a shelter or figure out life on my own. I was living in a group home and on my 18th birthday, given two trash bags, $70 and told to leave. Given that I lacked an education, adequate job training and housing, I chose to focus on the same criminal activity that I perpetrated since I was 12 years old. It wasn’t long after turning 18 that I was caught and placed in prison for 2 years. Upon my release, I was again faced with the same lack of options...

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The Short Term Solution

Growing up in the foster care system and on the streets, one consistent thing in my life is other people’s uncertainty of whether or not I actually have a mental illness, as if they needed to double check as often as possible. There was nothing worse than hearing someone tell me I didn’t look depressed or that I seemed too relaxed to be feeling anxious.

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Chapter Voices

“What is a problem foster/homeless youth face that people are unaware of?”

“One problem is that people are unaware of how many foster youth are out there and how hard it is to find a good placement.”— Everett Chapter member, Dakota Harmon-Duckworth

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