Jennifer Onwenu, MSU FAME Program Senior shares Monday's activities with us!
We started our day heading to Casey Family Programs. We met with Christine Calpin, Lauren Behsudi. They got straight to the point and wanted to hear our stories. It was great to finally visit the place we've heard so much about and even better to see people so interested in our opinions. We all spoke about our different campus support programs as well as issues all foster youth can relate to such as permanency, giving voice as well as prevention strategies. We also were given a chance to speak to Jill Reyes of the American Bar Association about the Legal Center for Foster Care and Adoption about a new program called "Blueprint for Change". After our luncheon of yummy Mediterranean food we headed off to Capitol Hill!
First stop on the hill: Longsworth house building which holds the house of Ways and Means. After we got over the awe if the huge and beautiful meeting room we met with Ryan Martin, a congressional staffer. Our meeting was set up in the Longworth House Building that had a lot of beautiful meeting rooms with even more culture. There we voiced our opinions on issues more specific to college aged foster alumni such as the ETV, expunging records, and more support for youth who were in kinship care or guardianship. After our moments of self-advocating we thanked the staffers and moved on to the next meeting.
Our final meeting was with Emile Stolzfuz and Adrienne Fernandez from the Congressional Research Service. There we spoke even further about foster youth and alumni issues such as keeping families together especially siblings. The staffers were very eager to hear our opinions and they were excited to see how their policies effected the youth they were intended for.
After a day of hard work we capped off our night at Stan's, an underground restaurant fairly close to the hotel. With great music playing in the background, a calm atmosphere and amazing food was the perfect way to commemorate our hectic yet productive day in our nations Capitol.
Written by Jennifer Onwenu, MSU FAME Program, Senior
Fostering Success Michigan is a program of Educate Tomorrow that aims to increase access and success in higher education and post-college careers for youth with experience in foster care. Learn how you can contribute to building a holistic network that insulates (i.e., strengthens protective factors and reduces risks) the education to career "pipeline."Make a Donation