foster youth

Voice Month

Youth voices impact change!

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October is foster youth voice month

Every voice matters. Using your voice effectively is a powerful tool to affect change. That’s why Selfless Love Foundation is declaring October as Foster Youth Voice Month. Through impactful stories from young people who have been in the child welfare system, the national campaign will help to change the lives of foster children now and in the future.

Selfless Love Foundation’s foster youth initiative, One Voice Impact (OVI), which provides opportunities for young people to work alongside leaders to improve the child welfare system, has successfully advocated for research to improve independent living services and developed a network of youth councils in Florida. For Foster Youth Voice Month, Selfless Love Foundation will collaborate with youth councils in 35 states, including Texas, California, New York, and Massachusetts. 

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FOSTER YOUTH VOICE MONTH AMBASSADOR, LYNN JOHNSOn
Selfless Love Foundation is honored to have Former Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson as the National Ambassador for Foster Youth Voice Month.  Johnson served as the Assistant Secretary with the US Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families (ACF).  She founded ALL IN Fostering Futures (AIFF) to continue her efforts in finding permanent, loving, and stable homes for children and youth in foster care.
“By working together, we can change the world for children in foster care. We are appealing to local, state, and national leaders to issue proclamations declaring October as Foster Youth Voice Month.” – Lynn Johnson

We are elevating youth voices across the nation!

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IT'S TIME TO LISTEN TO YOUTH VOICES!

Click here to read stories from youth with lived experience in the foster care system and youth voice advocates!

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just hold on

I’ve been telling my story for a few years now, and at first I was always embarrassed by it. I felt as though I was just a huge charity case to everyone around me. I felt like the poster child for a sad black girl. 

It’s not easy to say, “Hey, I’m young with two kids and no parents,” to a bunch of strangers. It’s not easy to say, “Hey, I have no one.” What I felt like saying was, “Hey I’m vulnerable and I have a sad life.” I felt like I was in one of those sad commercials where they want you to donate to organizations, like the ones in Africa where they claim their money is going to “poor” villages.  

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oversharing the hidden shame of advocacy

Shame. We’ve all felt it. It’s a common side effect of advocacy work that no one really talks about, otherwise known as oversharing. Oversharing is the unwanted disclosure of information or details that leave us feeling raw, anxious, and distressed; it’s often a signal of unhealed trauma.  

I was recently a guest speaker on a podcast that a colleague of mine produces centered around child welfare, and I shared a detail of my story that I regretted. This overshare left my nerves raw, and when I heard that my fumble made the final cut and was posted for the world to hear, I felt sick. 

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when you find your voice

“When you find your voice, you don’t find some new thing inside of you. Instead, you find a little more of you.” –  Dan Cumberland

Finding your voice initially seems scary because you worry about how people will react to what you have to say. But, when you speak your truth and advocate for what matters to you, you find peace. As a former foster care youth, I didn’t believe I had much to say, or that anyone cared about what I had to say. But during a home visit one day I found my voice. 

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the power of a child's voice

A child’s voice. What does that mean to you? When you think about yourself at a young age, do you remember a time when your parents did not listen to you? Maybe you got in trouble and instead of listening to and accepting your simple explanation for why you did something a certain way, they assumed your motive and punished you according to that assumption. Do you remember how that made you feel? Betrayed maybe, or scared, confused, angry? Maybe even sad or hurt? Or perhaps a mix of all those emotions. Now imagine feeling that on a daily basis as a child of the foster care system. 

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