Dear Friends and Allies,
Summer is usually the time when things slow down a bit, but that is not true here at The Mockingbird Society. Chapter members from across the state have been engaged in deep discussions, exploring the complex issues and challenges faced by young people experiencing foster care and homelessness. Their work in choosing the most pressing advocacy topics has involved intensive research, meetings with subject matter experts, and consultations with trusted advisors. There are no lazy summer days here. These young people are engaged and motivated to make positive change happen. All of this hard work is in preparation for presenting their policy proposals at the 2016 Youth Leadership Summit.
As one young man put it,
“I don’t do this for myself,
but for all of the young people
that come after me so they
have a better experience
than the one I had.”
This year we are pleased to announce that the Summit is growing to incorporate our Youth Advocates Ending Homelessness (YAEH) Chapter. The Supreme Court Commission on Foster Care has graciously invited the newly formed Office of Youth Homelessness — which resulted from a past Mockingbird Youth Network legislative priority — to co-sponsor the Summit. This event is an opportunity for legislative staff and expert community partners to provide feedback to our young people on how to best advocate for systems reform.
It has been a privilege to watch the chapter members’ work — developing new skills, learning how our system of government works and pushing their own boundaries of what they think they are capable of and recognizing the impact they can make. They have been working hard to clarify the issues they want to address and propose solutions, of which many will never receive the direct benefit. As one young man put it, “I don’t do this for myself, but for all of the young people that come after me so they have a better experience than the one I had.” Their commitment to making a difference for the next generation embodies the true spirit of civic engagement.