Kevinee Gilmore talks fashion, foster care and making a difference: Fashion Flash (photos, video)

By Allison Carey, The Plain Dealer

Kevinee Gilmore, 33, Cleveland
Digital activist behind her HashtagFosterCare campaign, landlord, public speaker, social media consultant and trainer for foster and adoptive parents.

I grew up in foster care. I was in 13 different homes. I think foster kids are looked down upon; at least that was my experience. It shapes your entire life. At 18 years old I was out of foster care with nowhere to live so I went to Cleveland State and lived in a dorm. I never thought I was smart enough for college but my social worker suggested it. I got a degree in social work. Fifty-four percent of kids in foster care don't have a high school diploma. They often do that on purpose so that they don't get put out of foster care. On my 18th birthday I was in court getting emancipated while other kids were having graduation parties.
After college:
In 2007, with the help of a social worker who is still in my life, I got an internship on Capital Hill working for John Kerry's office and then I got the opportunity to work in Hillary Clinton's office. I lived in a dorm at Catholic University. I was in a program called the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. It helps foster youth get internships in a senator's office with the goal of getting the foster youth to get the senators to sign off on child welfare bills. After that, I began taking classes toward a master's degree.

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