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Sunday, September 30, 2012

2012 Ohio CASA Conference ~ Child Advocate of the Year Award

Lisa Dickson's acceptance speech:
First and foremost, I want to thank each and every one of you – not simply for being here, but for BEING who you are, and for DOING what you do...
  • It is our choices each and every day, minute-by-minute, that add up to the person that we are.
  • It is our actions, each and every hour, moment by moment, that add up to the ripple effect of positive change that we can generate in terms of improving foster care outcomes.

Foster Care Alumni of America is a national organization that exists for two purposes: To Connect and to Transform.
  • We Connect the community of those who have experienced foster care personally, offering them a FOREVER family that they can never “age out” of…
  • We Transform, with the help of our allies – and YOU are our allies. Each and every person in this room.
One thing that we must never let go of is our sense of urgency -- this is what reminds us WHY we do WHAT we do every day, particularly when it comes to those activities that we do as a volunteer.
I believe, with all my heart, that it is an honor to volunteer on behalf of foster children.
  • Our young people are experiencing abuse and neglect today.
  • Our young people are experiencing foster care today.
  • Our young people are "aging out" of foster care today. 
For a child in foster care, every day is NOW.  They need our Collective Voice to make a difference. And, they need to be a part of that Collective Voice – it’s not enough just to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves – because we can also EMPOWER them to be the voices of the future.
I want to tell you about an upcoming event – we are holding Four EarlyThanksgivings in Ohio for foster care teens and young adults with a foster care history...
Finally, I'd like to introduce you to some of my heroes - the people sitting at my table. 
Jamole, Joy, Dauntea, Jackie, Bethany W., Amanda and Bethany K.
Amanda Dunlap was one of the Founding Members of the Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America.  She participated in our very FIRST Thanksgiving dinner, which took place on the steps of the United States Capitol.
Alex Gilbert and Dauntea Sledge
Dauntea Anthony Sledge is Ohio's Ambassador of Foster Care. Do you know someone who is feeling discouraged in their work?  Do they need that extra spark to reignite the fire that got them involved in child welfare in the first place?  Introduce them to Dauntea...
Dauntea, Tai and Jamole 
Tai Cornute is a powerful voice for support of Kinship Care Providers. Ask him what it was like to experience kinship care personally. Learn from him the supports that could and should be made available to kinship care providers.
Bethany Koshinsky
Bethany Koshinsky has supported the efforts of every FCAA Ohio Thanksgiving since the very first one was held in our state. She has served as Lead Facilitator of the Central OH Thanksgiving for the past two years - and we greatly appreciate her tireless efforts.
Lisa Dickson and Bethany Workman
Bethany Workman is Ohio’s very own expert on ETV funds. Ask her about this wonderful resource, orchestrated through Foster Care 2 Success, and how it can support the success of former foster youth in higher education.
Amanda Dunlap and Jamole Callahan
Jamole Callahan did such a wonderful job as a trainer during the 2012 Connecting the Dots Conference that he received a 100% approval rating from the youth. If you ever want a trainer or speaker who can connect with youth, you will want to call him. 
Denee Foster
And a shout-out to one young lady who couldn’t make it today, Denee Foster, who has many insights on how Ohio can dismantle the Cradle to Prison Pipeline...
Arthur Vincent Miller III and Marcus Henry,
two amazing young men who are
making a positive difference in Ohio.
These are the people who remind me everyday to hold onto that sense of urgency.  I  continue to be inspired by their passion, purpose and potential.
Please get to know the people sitting at my table. 
Please consider attending the Ohio Youth Advisory Board workshop tomorrow. 
And, most of all, please continue doing the work that you do – it is greatly needed and it is greatly appreciated. Thank you.