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Mockingbird Times - October, 2015

Mockingbird times 

 

FALL INTO ADVOCACY!

 

My Surprising Luncheon Journey

Melissa Suljic stands at the podium as she delivers this year’s Luncheon keynote. When I first heard that I was selected to be the Keynote Speaker at Mockingbird’s annual Benefit Luncheon, I was shocked. I had never done anything like this before. It made me feel really important to be asked and to know that the work I’ve been doing with Mockingbird is making a difference. It showed me that people see me for who I am — a leader. Not everyone in my life sees me this way. But with Mockingbird, I was treated like someone who mattered and asked to share my story in a really big way.

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Reflecting on Recovery Month

September was recovery month, and I have been reflecting a lot on what addiction is and on my own recovery process. I have been in and out of recovery for the past four years. Since I was sixteen years old I have said “Hi, my name is Sierra and I am an alcoholic” more times than I can count, and after a while it just became a normal statement.

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Letter from the Executive Director

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

On September 29th, 550 of our strongest supporters came out for our 2015 Annual Benefit Luncheon! I want to personally thank all of our generous sponsors and guests for joining us. Your support makes it possible for our agency to maintain a steadfast advocacy presence across the state. At the luncheon, Melisa Suljic shared her journey through foster care and her experience finding her “sisters” in the Everett Chapter of the Mockingbird Youth Network. In addition, Gerald Donaldson shared his experience as a Hub Home Parent for our Mockingbird Family Model Constellation in Kirkland, guiding youth and foster families through the challenges they face. The program also included a video about our fabulous Youth Advocates Ending Homelessness (YAEH). The stories were powerful and honest, and reminded us all about the transformative power of our community building and advocacy to improve foster care and end youth homelessness.

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Developing for Change: How to Reform the Foster Care System

At the 10th Annual Youth and Alumni Leadership Summit at the end of August, the young people from the six Mockingbird Youth Network chapters presented really powerful ideas to reform the foster care system. They presented these ideas to the Washington Supreme Court Commission on Children in Foster Care. Next, the young people in the Network will meet with community partners to determine how to further their proposals and which proposals may need legislative advocacy. They will also participate in Mockingbird’s State Leadership Council (SLC) in November to vote on Mockingbird’s final legislative agenda for the 2016 session. Be sure to attend our Youth Advocacy Day 2016 at the United Churches of Olympia. Stay tuned for date and more information.

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Chapter Voices

“What is an issue besides foster care or youth homelessness that you are passionate about? What are you doing to teach others about this issue?”

“Drug addiction and gang violence—advocating to my peers and younger people I see these issues are affecting. I plan to own a non-profit organization to help people that these issues affect.” Yakima chapter member

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LGBTQ Housing Discrimination

We need options for safe, welcoming housing for LGBTQ identified young people because some people feel unsafe in other options. LGBTQ young people experience homelessness more than straight youth. Young people are often kicked out of their homes for coming out as LGBTQ, and have a hard time getting off the streets because of discrimination against them.

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Lost Thoughts

Lost Thoughts

I am from Mop Buckets, from jet puff and white bread.
I am from the egg smeared walls with the empty ghost like feeling.
I am from the tree splattered land, the fresh evergreen time whose long gone, limbs I remember as if they were my own.
I’m from Budweiser and fighting, from Uncle Rusty and Aba.
I’m from gaming and ditching school and from foster care.

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