During the month of May, the members of Yolo County California Youth Connection would like to commemorate Foster Care Awareness Month by sharing their experiences in the foster care system. Their stories aim to highlight the important role every community member can play to support youth who find themselves in foster care. While some youths’ experiences are negative, others’ are positive thanks to members of the community who step up to address the needs of foster youth.
We are California Youth Connection (CYC), whose early lives have been influenced in many ways by the adults around us. CYC is a statewide organization, made up of current and former foster youth ages 14 to 24, empowering foster youth to create and reform the policies that affect them. The Yolo Chapter was established in 2011 and is currently working to improve the accessibility of local resources in Yolo County for foster youth. Additionally, they established a new student organization, Aggies Empowering Foster Youth (AEFY). AEFY’s members are students, staff, faculty and other community members who are willing to support CYC in accomplishing its mission through outreach in the community.
In addition to CYC and AEFY, two other important organizations exist to support county foster youth that derive support from the campus community — The Guardian Scholars Program (GSP) and The Yolo Youth Project (YYP). GSP is a campus-based support program at UCD that helps former foster youth navigate their way to successful attainment of college goals. Mentors are recruited annually from both the campus and Davis communities to provide an array of guidance for these former foster youth students. YYP is providing newly emancipated youth with furniture and housing supplies and practical life skills as they take on independent living responsibilities.
Receiving a foster family is, of course, a fabulous gift for any child or youth in need of a good home. But, mentoring is also an option that can take on many forms and provide valuable support for foster youth. There are a variety of ways to support these children and youth.
Something that may seem little to you can make all the difference to a foster youth. Visit the CYC website for information on ways to get involved. Take that step to make a difference in a child’s life!
— Aggies Empowering Foster Youth