1. On April 23rd: Grace, Amanda and Lisa presented a workshop for the American Adoption Congress/ANC national conference on the Importance of Maintaining Sibling Connections Post-adoption.
During this conference, we made a new contact, who will be supporting Grace as she takes her passion for advocacy with her to Massachusetts for grad school this fall:
As a first-term State Senator, Paula Benoit co-sponsored LD 1084, An Act to Allow Adult Adoptee Access to Original Birth Certificates. The bill was passed and signed into law on June 25, 2007.
Senator Benoit, an adoptee, is currently committing her time to educating Legislators in other states on the legal imperative for all adult adoptees to have access to original identity.
2. April 28th: Ohio legislator visits requesting the restoration of TANF-IL funds and the expansion of Low Income Housing Tax Credit for homeless youth. This is part of Ohio's Statewide "Ready to Launch" initiative.
The Reach to Launch Planning Committee includes representatives from OACCA, YEP, the Ohio-YAB, Montgomery County Children Services, VISION and Ohio FCAA.
3. Legislative Advocacy in Several Arenas: Ohio foster care youth and alumni will be presenting further testimony for the Ohio Senate, regarding the loss of TANF-IL funds. We are still hoping that the final version released by the Ohio House will have put the TANF-IL allocation back in...
Mark Mecum's tireless efforts on behalf of Independent Living reform are greatly appreciated.
In addition, two of our members are preparing for upcoming trips to Washington DC:
- Amanda Dunlap will be visiting Congressional offices in an effort sponsored by NACAC to remind Ohio legislators about the "Fostering Connections to Success Act"
- Denee Foster will be a part of the Casey Congressional Visits from May 18-21, sharing a part of her personal experience and raising awareness for the Casey 20/20 Strategy
Denee has made it her business to know the details regarding financial aid for college, and she brought SO MUCH to our very first Village Network workshop presentation!
4. Ohio Reach statewide event on May 12th to establish foster care liaisons at Ohio's community colleges and universities:
- Adrian McLemore will be giving the morning Welcoming Address
- Lisa Dickson is presenting in the morning and moderating the youth/alumni panel
- Youth/alumni Panel members will include: Vanessa Jackson, Alex McFarland and Adrian McLemore
- Afternoon strategic planning will be facilitated by Doris Edelmann
- Lisa Dickson created the website for this ongoing initiative: http://ohioreach.wikispaces.com/
Chris Klefecker has done a wonderful job of steering the preparations for the Ohio Reach workshop / kick-off event.
5. Alumni Assistance and Support Program (ASAP) is an ongoing OSU pilot project of peer support groups for foster care alumni and homeless youth who are transitioning to adulthood, facilitated by Dr. Alvin Mares, Tim Conrad and Lisa Dickson.
Alvin designed the ASAP website: http://www.oyit-asap.net/
Alvin Mares was a founding member of the Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America, and since then, his dedication to making a positive difference only continues to grow...
6. National survey on behalf of OCWTP in order to learn from other models and establish an Ohio method of certifying foster care youth/alumni as child welfare trainers.
Lisa Dickson started out volunteering on this committee on behalf of Ohio FCAA, but is now working directly under contract to OCWTP on a short-term basis to complete the survey, including creating this website: http://sites.google.com/site/childwelfaretrainingsurvey/
Charlotte Ostermann first created the youth ad hoc committee to certify foster care youth and alumni as trainers, and has tirelessly pushed forward to make this dream a reality.
7. Logistics re: NACAC youth track this fall: (TBA)
There is only one Bryan Brown in the whole world, and those of us in Ohio are happy to know him!
8. Preparing for the Cincinnati Membership drive in May: Amy Roberts, FCAA alumni member and employee of Cincinnati Works, will be hosting this membership drive on May 15, 2009 at Black Finn Restaurant and Saloon (19 E 7th Street Cincinnati OH 45202) from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Membership for alumni will be paid for by Cincinnati Works. There will be door prize drawings for anyone who brings a new member! Come join us for food, fellowship, and fun!!!
Cincinnati Works has designed a Next Step Program that is specifically designed to target all young adults ages 17 ½ -25 that have experienced some sort of foster care.
9. Preparing for the Colorado conference in June: Adrian McLemore, Kierra Williams, Doris Edemann and Lisa Dickson will be presenting:
- two concurrent workshops on Emotional Resiliency
- two concurrent workshops on Creating and Maintaining a Community of Foster Care Youth and Alumni
10. Following Up With Ohio Regions/Counties: We are preparing to follow up on last summer's training on how to create local youth/alumni support groups by returning to those counties in June and July, and providing additional training and support...
It's all about that "click" from victimization to empowerment... Harnessing our passion and energy to become: Agents of CHANGE!