Another Successful Teen Conference!

Teen Conference Commemorative Poster
Click to see full poster. (If you went to the Teen Conference, click the image to see your name!)
The 20th Annual Teen Conference is over 🙁 !! We hope you were excited about the workshops and other conference activities. This year’s conference theme is "MYLIFE#IOwnIt!" This conference pushed you to think about what you want for yourself and gave you some tools to build the future you desire. We all have dreams for ourselves and sometimes circumstances in our lives make it seem impossible for us to achieve those dreams. This year's conference made efforts to get you to find the strength and develop a plan to achieve and to OWN your dream.  

"MYLIFE#IOwnIt!"

  On June 26th - June 27th the Teen Conference was held at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The Teen Conference hosted youth from all over the state of Maryland ages 14 to 17. Youth Participants got excited and hype by the phenomenal hosts Dijohn T., Antonio M., and Tyler L.  Youth were engaged throughout the conference with breakout session, activities, motivational speech by Mr. Michael Sanders, food and music/dance.  Take a look at the 2014 Teen Conference Program to find out more about what happened at the Teen Conference.

Montgomery County’s DHHS honor Older Youth with Scholarships during an Annual Foster Care Cookout

On June 18, 2014 the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services Child Welfare Division hosted its 37th Annual Foster Family Picnic at the Smokey Glen Farm located on 16407 Riffle Ford Road in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The event hosted foster families, youth, family court judges, legal aid attorneys, and local politicians from across the county. This interactive event was filled with entertainment, music, dance, and fun activities for all ages. The event exemplified the core values within the Youth Matter Initiative occurring across the state of Maryland where youth and adults come together to enhance their relationship, learn from one another, and feel comfortable with being themselves. During the recognition ceremony, 24 youth were honored by the agency’s administration for earning their high school diploma. Each youth was awarded with privately funded scholarships raised through local fund raising efforts and community outreach by agency staff.  Youth will use the scholarship towards their post-secondary education at public universities and colleges across the state of Maryland.  Here are the names of some of the youth honored during the conference:
  • Kathryn Flemming
  • Barbara Hounsou
  • Tracey Jerome
  • Ernest Johnson Jr.
  • Michael Kamara
  • Princess Kingston
  • Cameryn Little
  • Brenda Lopez
  • Laura Medrano
  • David Potter
  • Jasmine Thapa
  • Daniel Waclawiw

Morgan grad Shanna Green overcame difficult childhood in foster care

shanna-green-575x376 Shanna Green doesn't hold back on the details of her difficult childhood in foster care and the missteps she had in early adulthood, hoping her story and later success will inspire others. The Baltimore native, who was in more than 20 foster care placements, says she experienced various forms of abuse before running away to live with a female companion at age 15. To survive, she said, she sold drugs, hung out with gang members and sold her body. Green graduated from Morgan State University with a degree in sociology, the fruits of a long climb out of devastation. At the school, she met her fiance and has planned a wedding for October. "I knew my whole purpose in life is to tell my story because I went through so much," said Green, 26. "A lot of people can survive it but they can't forgive it, and I forgive it." Green, who said she was placed in foster care at age 2, felt the support she got from the foster care system was inadequate, and struggled to deal with her emotions and the trauma she experienced. She said she attempted suicide five times. "I didn't want to listen to anyone," she said. "You couldn't give me a hug because I wouldn't receive it." Green said she was charged with carrying an illegal gun after getting pulled over in Virginia with gang members and spent a month in jail. She experienced bouts of homelessness after leaving the woman she had moved in with. One day, at age 19, Green was walking from a bar in Pen Lucy when something inside her told her to look up, she said. Ahead of her was Victorious Ministries International, and she later joined that church, finding new family, stability and support. She got her high school diploma from Crooked Places Made Straight Christian Academy in Philadelphia, which had its accreditation revoked last year after a Baltimore Sun investigation found foster care youths were getting diplomas after only a three-hour exam. After some difficulty gaining admission to Morgan because of her criminal record, Green began working in college on projects to support foster youths. She met President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at a mentorship event in 2010, which she described as "huge" for her. Now, Green wants to become a motivational speaker to help others who have been in foster care or had troubled backgrounds. She is working on a book about her life story. "My goal was just to encourage other foster youth to come to college as well," she said. "Just because we don't have family doesn't mean we have to be alone in society."   youth-baltimore-sun-575x387 Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/bs-md-graduating-online-20140518,0,3357334.story#ixzz32C2jtSa9

2014 Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day

The Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth presents the 2014 Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day in Washington, DC. Shadow Day is an excellent, all expense paid, opportunity for young people from around the country and members of congress to meet and learn from one another. Young people in and from foster care are able to speak to and learn about their congresswomen and men while gaining a “hands-on” understanding about how the U.S. government works and operates on a daily basis.  

Eligibility

  • You are 18-24 years old on May 27, 2014
  • Spent time in an out-of-home placement (foster care, group home, kinship home, etc.)
  • A willingness to play a LEADERSHIP role for youth and alumni of foster care
 

Apply Today!

shadow-a-congress-member-540x295 To apply, you can visit fosteryouthcaucus-karenbass.house.gov/sign-shadow-day or you can simply click here!

"Constituent Night" in Annapolis

The MYLIFE State Youth Advisory Board hosts quarterly Community Service Projects around the state of Maryland. On Monday, February 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm the MYLIFE Youth Advisory Board participated in "Constituent Night" in Annapolis, Maryland. annapolis-night-out-540x419 The Board was recognized on the floor of the House of Delegates during the closing of legislative session. The MYLIFE SYAB had an opportunity to meet with many of the legislative dignitaries from all over the state.