FosterClub Outstanding Young Leaders: Angelanette B.

Years in care: 3 years in Alabama’s foster care system
Angelanettee is a driven high school senior who will be graduating with honors. Upon graduation she will attend Auburn University and conditionally Troy University. It has always been a goal of hers to be a successful leader and advocate. Angelanette wants to attend a university to major in social work. Along with her great academic standing, she has been recognized and received awards for participating in band, choir and pageants. She advocates for foster youth in her state on a leadership council called the “Dream Council.” Angelanette has numerous accomplishments and awards, she will continue to climb and strive for success.
 
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Erica – foster child

Erica started off life in a loving, normal household, but at age seven her father suddenly died and life went downhill from there. Her mother, severely depressed, developed Schizophrenia and was unable to care for Erica and her brother, aged two.
There was no extended family as her mother’s family lived in the Philippines and her father’s family were not in a position to take two young children. So Erica and her brother had to go into foster care.
Fortunately for Erica and her brother, that first foster family experience was exceptional. The parents were loving and had four children close to their own age - a ready set of playmates.
Life in the comfortable house on the Central Coast looked like it was going to be fine and it was for five years. Then, circumstances changed as a cousin on her dad’s side decided she was able to care for Erica and her brother, and applied to the courts to have them come and live with her.
Erica didn’t want to leave the foster family, but didn’t have any say in the matter.
As Erica hit her teen years, she rebelled against some of her cousin’s rules and ran away. Eventually she lived with a friend for seven months, which she said was fun, but not at all good for her.
“There were no rules and no routine and I think that children thrive on these.” After a falling out with her friend she went to Community Services and begged them to find her another foster home.
“They said they didn’t have any homes for me. I think the problem is everyone wants to foster cute babies. They don’t want 16-year-olds with attitudes and all the baggage. They told me if they couldn’t find me a home that I would have to go into a refuge.
I didn’t want to live in a refuge. I'd heard so many awful stories like people getting their stuff stolen and getting bashed. I was scared of where my life would head if I went into one.”
A caseworker then asked Vicki and Dennis, experienced foster carers if they would take Erica in. “Vicki was a bit stretched at that point and reluctant to take me on. It was nothing personal. She was already caring for several long-term children, one who is severally disabled.
She and the department tried to find another solution, but no one was willing to give me a chance.
In the end Vicki and Dennis decided to let me stay, which was one of the best feelings in the world, to know that someone still cared enough to take a chance with me. Vicki was loving, but firm. I admit it wasn’t easy settling in, I wasn’t the perfect teenager. I was 16 and knew everything.”
“She had very low self esteem and normal erratic teenage behaviour,” recalls Vicki. “But with a lot of love, patience and good humour on both sides she has become the most beautiful, compassionate girl. She is the model for what a foster child can become.”
Erica laughs when she recalls how Vicki would spray her pillowcase and room with lavender each night. “Lavender is supposed to calm children down and help them sleep. It just wound me up. I would go, yuck, what is that stink? I couldn’t sleep all night. So much for the calming qualities of lavender.”
Erica says she was lucky to have found another caring foster family. “To me, they are my family. I go on holidays, celebrate Christmas’s, birthdays and weddings with them. I share all the highs and lows.”
Erica says foster children can suffer cruelty at the hands of their classmates and parents. “What is hard is when some children won’t play with you because you are a foster child. There is still a stigma about being a foster child ‘that we are all street kids’ that I hope can eventually be broken.
Erica is now 21, happy and fulfilled. She lives with her boyfriend, but still goes home regularly to see Vicki and Dennis. She also keeps in touch with her first foster family and her mother.
“Vicki and Dennis have always encouraged me to succeed in everything I did. They encouraged me to learn how to drive and helped by loaning me the money to buy a car. They also encouraged me to go to university. I didn’t think I was capable of doing anything like that, but with their help I put my head down and worked hard for it,” says Erica.
Erica is finishing off a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Newcastle. Originally she planned to pursue a career in interior design, but she decided her real passion was in community welfare and now has plans to become a caseworker for one of the foster care agencies.
“Hopefully, I can make a difference. I think that it would be beneficial for other foster children to associate with a worker who they can relate to. I can have empathy with them because I know what they will be going through and can support them from a different perspective.
You know, a lot of foster children think the world owes them but I say the only person who can fix your life is yourself.”





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Fostering Hope Scholarship

Alabama’s FOSTERING HOPE SCHOLARSHIP is an investment in the post-secondary education and training goals of youth who were in the foster care system when they earned a high school diploma or GED, as well as those adopted from Alabama foster care after age 14. This comprehensive program covers tuition and fees for eligible students enrolled in a post-secondary certificate or degree program; additionally, it helps eligible high school students begin planning ahead towards achievable goals. For more information visit http://www.fc2sprograms.org.


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Morgan Co. Dream Council Meeting Recap.


Every month at our Dream Council meetings we reward the social worker that brings the most participants to the meeting. This week at our Dream Council meeting we want to say thank you and reward Darlene Flowers from Morgan Co. with a gift certificate to show her our appreciation for doing such a wonderful job and bringing the most participants. Thanks from the IL team.

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Starfish Foundation Soledad O'Brien & Brad Raymond


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Fostering Hope in Higher Education Summit


This Education Summit will explain all information on the new Fostering Hope Scholarship for Alabama’s Foster Youth, who will be attending your college Fall 2016. We would love to have a representative from your Financial Aid and Student Services departments. To claim your spot(s), please contact Nikki Oakes Freeman (205-943-5356 or nfreeman@childrensaid.org).
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Black Girls Lead


BLACK GIRLS LEAD is a four-day leadership conference for girls Conference applications are due Friday May 20, 2016 by 11:59PM. Only completed applications will be reviewed: Short answer questions should be thoughtful and comprehensive (approximately three sentences long), essays should be clear and concise (approximately 500 words), and all other assets must be e-mailed or submitted into the form by the aforementioned deadline. Fill out the application by going following this Black Girls Lead.
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Camp Life II (14-16yr) July 26-28, 2016



July 26-28, 2016 we will be hosting a camp for up to 100 IL youth each between the ages of 14-16.  Activities of the camp will build self-confidence and independent living skills among youth. Campers will participate in closely supervised activities within their small group such as a ropes course, team building activities, talent show, field games, and others as a group. All camp activities will provide opportunities for campers to develop relationships with their peers and other group members in order to trust and understand each other.  Camp Life will be held at Shocco Springs Conference Center in Talladega, Alabama. The amenities are outstanding and sure to enhance the fun and safe environment provided for each camper! To Register for Camp Life II Click Here.
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Alabama Legislative Page April 26-28, 2016



Eight of our young people will have the opportunity to serve as Legislative Pages again this year.  The Page Experience will take place April 26-28, 2016 in Montgomery.  These young people will also have the opportunity to speak to our Federal Partners from the Children’s Bureau on May 4th.  Please send information regarding young people that you believe would benefit from participating.  The young person would have to be accompanied by their social worker or foster parent for the experience here in Montgomery as they have to report for service each day at 8:00.  Workers or foster parents should be prepared to spend the three days in Montgomery.  The deadline for those submission of a brief bio and your recommendation has been extended until noon on Friday, April 15, 2016.  Send all information regarding participating as a Legislative Page to  Kanoschu Campbell, at Kanoschu.Campbell@dhr.alabama.gov


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The nsoro Educational Foundation Guardian Scholars CollegeBound Program

The nsoro Educational Foundation Guardian Scholars CollegeBound Program is modeled after the pilot program lauched in California State Schools. Our design affords emancipated foster youth the continuum of care and support provided by Social Workers and Case Managers while students are in high school and are planning for enrollment in College.

Thanks to the generous program support from the AT&T Foundation, we launched our summer Precollegiate initiative at The University of Georgia and The University of Alabama in 2011.

During this innovative program High School students, currently in foster care attend a week long summer pre-college experience on the campuses of our partner schools. Students live in dorms and meet with college students, professors and admissions officers. This program stresses the importance of academic excellence and high school graduation. In 2016 students may apply to our programs. All program costs are provided by our generous presenting program sponsors the AT&T Foundation, Wilmington Trust and the Amerigroup Foundation. To sign up for NSORO Click Here.
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