Gracious Summary.

Yonica Dupree, Seita Scholar and Junior at Western Michigan University graciously summarizes the 2013 CFS Leadership Retreat.

The Center for fostering Success’ Leadership Retreat was a success in itself. We had the best time ever. What could be better than traveling and representing a successful foster alumni program while advocating for younger foster youth. You can say that I am biased, since I help to plan the trip, however there were many parts that were planned by other leaders that attended the trip as well. I must say we had a lot of fun weather we were in our suits and ties, or if were dressed down going to see the Lincoln Memorial. We ate at beautiful restaurants, did a little sight-seeing, and enjoyed many different types of arts along the way.

In Washington D. C. we had the opportunity to meet with the Staff of Senator Debbie Stabenow. After that we received a tour of the capitol building where we saw monuments of the top two nominated leaders for each state. We had the opportunity to learn some interesting facts about the building as well. Casey Family Programs were a big help with setting up meeting and tours for us. Casey Family Programs are one of the biggest researchers dealing with foster youth.  It was an absolute pleasure talking with them, and bringing up issues that we wanted to be addressed regarding foster youth.  Some of the others that we spoke with dealing with these issues were: staffers of The White House, researchers for Congress, and the House of Representatives:  Ways and Means Committee.

During the trip we got the chance to meet other alumni of foster care. These Leaders represented other universities in Michigan like Saginaw Valley University, Michigan State University, And Eastern Michigan University. It was really fun to meet people from other schools. I learned more about the programs and services that they offer to foster youth at other schools in Michigan as well as in Pennsylvania which is where we had our conference. During the Philadelphia Foster Care Conference we got the chance to meet with agencies that support foster youth as well as universities. Those universities were interested in starting support programs like the Seita Scholars Program in their own state.

I consider it a blessing to have had this opportunity and I am so grateful to have met various different people that care about foster youth policy and change. I am thankful for the opportunity to have spoken on behalf of homeless youth, adoptive children, kinship and guardianship families, and foster youth nation-wide.  All the attendees on the trip got along well, and I even plan on continuing being friends with most of the foster alumni from Fostering Success Michigan, visiting their schools and hanging out with them in the near future.

Written by Yonica Dupree, Junior & Seita Scholar

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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." 

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