Youth Advocacy Day 2017 (YAD), on February 10th, was impactful for youth and legislators alike. This year I had the pleasure of being one of the morning speakers. I voiced my concern about Washington’s overuse of the Valid Court Order exception and how my experiences being detained for running away affected my life. It was empowering to speak in front of over 340 youth and allies. This year was our biggest turnout yet. All of us came together to organize and take our
Dear Friends and Allies,
It is time. It’s time we stop “tinkering around the edges” of child welfare reform. Washington state is at a pivotal moment in our history, teetering on the edge of transforming how we care for our state’s youngest residents and their families. Our state has a strong and diverse movement of policy makers, community leaders, philanthropists, and advocates working together to address the most pressing issues facing our most vulnerable populations. The opportunity before us is twofold...
Pay It Forward
Growing up in an abusive household has adverse impacts on youth and their development. While there are developmental impacts that can be the result of physical abuse, there are also suppressed negative emotions that can result in self-blame. Youth who experience abuse or trauma are not easy to pick out of a crowd. Instead of seeking help or talking about it, there is internalization that manifests in silence.
Yakima, like many cities in Washington, is looking for ways to best house individuals in their community who are experiencing homelessness. Yakima has had what is called a “homeless encampment” where individuals can live. I have heard many questions about this encampment such as who is helping these people and how old are the people in the encampment? Well, I am here to answer these questions for you.
Youth Advocates Ending Homelessness(YAEH) started in Seattle in 2013 under the name Homeless Youth Initiative and worked with Seattle Mayor Michael McGinn toward the goal of making homelessness rare, brief and one-time. After the first year, it was changed to YAEH, the name we all know today.
Power of One
Art has been my personal escape when I’m feeling out of control, especially as I was growing up. I was introduced to watercolor painting only a year ago, and since then it has been the most expressive medium I have found. Watercolor painting has allowed me to express feelings I can’t put into words, as well as feelings that I have no desire to put words to.
Power of One
Youth need support. In a point-in-time snapshot, there were 8,994 children in foster care in July 2016. Washington state has a shortage of foster parents, leading to a statewide crisis. There are clear statistics that show roughly 50% of youth in foster care graduate high school. We are less likely to be employed. In addition, upwards of 30% of alumni live at or below the poverty line. We struggle in reaching important benchmarks in our transition to adulthood such as getting our driver’s licenses for transportation, learning ways to obtain and keep stable housing after exiting care, and obtaining important documents like our social security cards and birth certificates. Statistics show that 1 in 5 youth will become homeless within a year of aging out. These are trends that can, and need to change.