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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Resources for Ohio Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

Employment

Food
  • Go with the young person to apply for food stamps, or accompany him or her to the nearest Food Bank.
  • Here's a list of Food Banks in Ohio.

GED

Healthcare
  • Foster care youth who "age out" of the system can receive Medicaid until age 21.
  • Navigating the adult Medicaid system can be challenging.
  • Don't assume that the staff at the Medicaid office will be aware of this program -- bring a copy of the flyer.

Higher Ed
  • Ohio Reach is a statewide initiative to increase the number of foster care youth who enroll in and graduate from college.
  • A good place to start in choosing a college is to look over the list of Ohio Reach Campus Liaisons.

Housing

Legal Assistance

Literacy

Mental Health
  • Each Ohio county has a Mental Health Board, and it's up to us to advocate for specific services for transitioning foster care youth.
  • It's important to be aware that former foster youth suffer from PTSD at a rate twice that of Vietnam war veterans.

Parenting

Phone Bills

Social Security

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spotlight on FCAA Ohio Members: Sarah Callihan


If you were to ask me to come up with one word to describe Sarah Callihan, that word would be Determination: “Firmness of purpose.”

Sarah is determined to change the outcomes of foster care youth – and she began first by building a successful young adult life of her own.

After “aging out” of foster care, Sarah was the first person in her immediate family to obtain a college degree and go on to graduate school. She earned a 4.0 last quarter. Sarah plans to use her Criminal Justice degree to become both a college professor and victim/youth advocate. She’d like to eventually go to law school and to attain her MSW, as well as becoming a foster/adoptive parent for teens.

Sarah benefited greatly from the independent living courses provided to her before she turned 18 years old. The life skills that she learned helped her to transition smoothly into college life, and be self-reliant when setting up a bank account. When Ohio’s state funding for Independent Living services was in jeopardy, Sarah testifed before the Ohio House of Representatives to advocate for this funding to be reinstated.

One of Sarah’s dreams is to create a safe place in Dayton neighborhoods for community members to go when they are in need of help and safety.

Sarah’s writing has been published by EMK Press in a book for teen adoptees titled, Pieces of Me: What Do I Want to Be, and she is also scheduled to have her writing published in Rhonda Sciortino’s From Foster Care to Anywhere publication sometime this year.

Spotlight on FCAA Ohio Members: Jeremie Brown-Austin


If you were to ask me to come up with one word to describe Jeremie Brown-Austin, that word would be Potential: The inherent capacity for growth and development.

Jeremie is constantly learning new things, and exploring new opportunities. During the 2007 Teen Resource Fair in Stark County, Jeremie performed a rap song, which led to his being chosen to go to Hawaii and share his musical talent in the making of a CD. During his time in Hawaii, Jeremie participated in a statewide rally, advocating for the needs of foster care youth.

Jeremie is currently an active member of the Stark County Youth Advisory Board. In this role, he has helped train social workers, and spoken at Malone College’s Foster Forum. Jeremie would like to see Ohio and other states implement consistent aftercare provisions that would continue to support emancipated foster care youth after age 18, throughout young adulthood, helping them to succeed in the adult world.

Jeremie’s interests and passions include music, psychology and Theology studies. He can play an impressive game of basketball – in fact, one of Jeremie’s suggestions for mentoring young men in foster care is to participate in sports with youth. He’d also love to see a summer camp for foster care youth, staffed by foster care alumni.

Jeremie is known for his creativity and energy. Wherever Jeremie goes, he brings with him a stabilizing faith and a desire to make a positive difference. Regarding his music, for example, Jeremie wants “to bring foster kids together through my music, and make them feel like part of a family.”

Spotlight on FCAA Ohio Members: Rico Rushin


If you were to ask me to come up with one word to describe Riccardo (“Rico”) Rushin, that word would be Dedication: “The act of binding yourself to to specific course of action.”

After graduating from high school, and being publicly honored for his achievements (Duer, Benjamin. Area foster youths honored. Canton Repository, June 23, 2009), Rico remains determined to give back. He has returned to his high school, Glen Oak, several times for motivational speaking engagements, as well as Allen Elementary and Alliance Middle School, Walsch College, Malone College and Mount Vernon College.

Currently working toward his degree in social work, Rico has a clear and growing vision of how to improve outcomes for foster care youth, which includes specific guidelines regarding foster parent recruitment and training, mentoring of foster youth and transitional housing.

Rico dreams of one day having enough money to open an apartment complex for emancipating foster care youth. Residents will participate in independent living classes with on-site social workers, including Money Management and Study Habits.

From his experience in foster care, Rico has learned that people and living situations can be transient – which is why he is determined to be the kind of person that others can rely upon.

Rico wants to see youth in foster care paired with at least one mentor that will create a lasting bond, regardless of change in placement – and he wants to be that kind of mentor. He plans to build a family one day and provide structure and stability for his children.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ohio FosterClub position - Only five days left for youth to apply!!

Ohio is Sponsoring an Foster Club All-Star this year!

But - the application deadline is FEBRUARY 15th.

The FosterClub All-Star program provides young people age 18-24 with skills to be leaders and advocates.

This year long position includes a summer internship, including 10 weeks in Seaside, Oregon. The 12 young people selected to serve as All-Stars will have the opportunity to travel the nation, speak and train their peers in foster care, and participate in public awareness and policy activities.

Part 1: Application
The All-Star application must be completed online. This application may require up to two hours to complete.

To help youth prepare, FosterClub has provided downloadable Word and PDF versions of the application. They strongly encourage youth to download a practice application, review the questions, and write out practice essay questions, which they can then use to copy into their application.

Incomplete applications will not be accepted, so youth are encouraged take their time in reviewing questions and to allow adequate time to complete the entire application:

These resources are available at: http://allstars.fosterclub.com/article/apply-be-all-star

Part 2: Recommendations: 
A youth application is not complete without two recommendations.

The people youth choose to provide a recommendation will be asked to rate their leadership skills and any other qualities that would make them a good candidate to become an All-Star. Recommendations should not be from friends or relatives.

Here's the link for adult recommendations: (Please note that the deadline is in FIVE days!!)
http://www.fosterclub.com/2010-all-star-application-recommendation

For more information about the All-Star program, please contact Lupe Tovar at 503-717-1552 or lupe@fosterclub.com

Wishing Ohio foster care youth the very best this year -- because, as always, they deserve it!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010