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Mockingbird Times - September, 2015

Mockingbird times 

 

A DECADE OF LEADERSHIP

 

Leadership Summit Over the Years

Janell Braxton announces the Advocates of the Year at this year’s Leadership Summit. The Mockingbird Society has accomplished a lot and it couldn’t have been possible without youth voice! Within the last ten years of summits, we’ve worked with legislators to pass more than 25 bills into laws. In celebration of Mockingbird’s 10th annual Foster Youth and Alumni Leadership Summit, I would like to recognize how this event has shaped me into the leader that I am today. It taught me the value of community engagement, allowed me to see the growth of the event and those involved, and it empowered me to see my role as an advocate in this year’s summit.

I have attended every summit for the past five years, and realized that I’ve grown tremendously as a leader because of it.

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The Ongoing Search for Passion

Passion can be terrifying. In foster care, there is a reverence in planning. In life, most are told there is only one correct path. Ignoring the typical narrative and following your passion is scary, but terribly important. That’s why it’s necessary to find people who will support your quest to be happy. As for me, I took a leap of faith and ended up at The Mockingbird Society.

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Letter from the Executive Director

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

When you read about the child welfare system today, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that it is broken. Foster parent retention is very low and caseloads are very high. Outcomes for former foster youth, though they have improved over the years, remain poor across the board — high rates of homelessness and incarceration, lower rates of high school graduation.

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The McCleary Decision

Washington state has been struggling to reform our public education system. Currently, the McCleary decision is on the minds of many. The McCleary decision is a ruling made by the State Supreme Court that addresses the funding for Washington’s K-12 public education programs. This funding is meant to improve the public education system by reducing class sizes in kindergarten through third grade and expanding basic state-funded education. It is important to note that this is the Court’s fourth attempt to tackle this issue since 1977.

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Supplying Our Youth for Success

It’s that time of the year again. That’s right, school is starting back up! This can be an exciting time for students but it can also be an equally stressful time for those who lack the proper resources to start their year strong. Over 5,000 young people experience housing instability in King County and countless others face poverty. Getting school supplies is a very real struggle, which is often coupled with housing instability. However, there is light down this dark road. In King County and across the state there are various resources available to families who are struggling with buying school supplies.

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Advice for Moms Going Back to School

Now is the time quite a few people are going back to school. If you’re anything like me, when you start college, you will think “I can totally take on 12 credits without help!” and you may even choose to take those 12 credits online. I’m here to tell you that it’s ok to ask for help, and you may not want to take those 12 credits all at once and online if you have any responsibilities outside of school. If your case manager says you’re taking on more than you can handle, they’re probably right. I’m not saying this to discourage you; I’m saying it based on my own experience.

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A New Bird Joins the Nest!

Cecily Ferguson, the new Seattle and Everett Engagement Specialist, started at The Mockingbird Society at the end of June 2015. Before Cecily joined The Mockingbird Society, she worked at a variety of places — at the YMCA Young Adult Services, the University of Washington Medical Center, and Seattle Municipal Court in Probation Services. She has volunteered at the King County Needle Exchange and RAIN City Animal Rescue. Cecily has a Masters of Social Work from University of Washington. She has a passion for working with youth and young adults and is excited to be a part of the Mockingbird team working as an ally for youth who have experienced the foster care and homelessness systems.

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Chapter Voices

“What is one thing you do to keep a healthy mind and body?”

“When it comes to my body and mind, I like to sit down and write poetry or I just write. I find that writing for me helps distract and ease my mind from what is on it. I like to go on walks and just listen to different kinds of music that fits into the mood that I am in. I find that taking long walks is very soothing for the mind because it helps me process whatever is going on.” Olympia chapter member

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