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Jessica Cookreal world inspiration


On Saturday, March 21st, the Spokane Mockingbird Youth Network chapter was asked to set up a booth at the Real World Conference held at Spokane Community College. The Real World Conference is for youth in care age 14-21. There were many booths from other community organizations and schools, including Eastern Washington University, Whitworth University, Spokane Falls and Spokane Community College, Planned Parenthood, Job Corps, and more. The conference had a big turnout as over seventy-five youth were in attendance. The youth were divided into three different groups and listened to a panel of professionals, each from a different field of expertise.

I asked Monroe, “What advice do you give youth in care, or just getting out of care?” He said, “Don’t be a victim — be a product.”

At the end of the event, I was fortunate to sit down with the guest speaker Monroe Martin, a comedian who was on the TV show “Last Comic Standing.” Mr. Martin came from a rough childhood and was a youth in care in Philadelphia. He spent 15 years in the system in 14 different foster homes. I asked Monroe, “What does advocacy mean to you?” His reply was, “Giving back to others, making sure they stay on the right path and helping youth or whoever reach their goals they have set for themselves.” My last question I asked him was, “What advice do you give youth in care or just getting out of care?” He said, “Don’t be a victim — be a product. Try to understand why you are in that situation, and know it wasn’t your fault.

When you come up with your answer, live with it. That’s what I’ve always told myself and told my little sister.” He also added that going through life the way he did made him have a better understanding of people and of himself, and he is proud to be where he is today.

The youth at the conference were very interested in listening to the guest speaker, because he understood what they were all going through. At the end he signed autographs, took pictures and chatted with a few youth.

My interview with Monroe really made me look at my life, and say I am proud of where I am. He is such an inspiration and it’s nice to know that not all famous people have the best childhoods. Some of them are just like us!

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We welcome submissions of articles, poetry, artwork, and photography from our young readers who have experience in the foster care system and/ or homelessness. If you want to be, or have been, published in the Mockingbird Times visit www.mockingbirdsociety.org, call us at (206) 407-2134 or email us at youthprograms@ mockingbirdsociety.org. Note: Incoming letters to the editor and correspondence to youth under 18 years should be addressed to the Mockingbird Times and will be opened first by adult editorial staff.