Power of One
In all my time with The Mockingbird Society, I have participated in six Youth Leadership Summits. Summit is the time and place where Mockingbird chapter members from all seven regions present the proposals they’ve been working on for months to the Washington State Supreme Court Commission on Children in Foster Care. This year, for the first time ever, the chapters also presented to the state Office of Homeless Youth Advisory Committee. It’s an important event for Mockingbird and it’s also an important opportunity for youth to hone their leadership skills through direct advocacy.
Power of One
For every foster youth that dances across the stage with their diploma, there is another foster youth who lost too much education in the system and fell through the cracks. By the end of college, only 3 out of 100 youth in care will obtain their bachelor’s degree. 1 This is no coincidence and this is only a couple of the many alarming facts that remind The Summit Heard Around the World us there is a continual need for policy reform and empowerment within the foster care system. However, it’s not so much the actual statistics that empower us to be advocates, but the stories behind them. These stories depict the obstacles that we, as well as our siblings (foster or biological), have had to overcome.
Dear Friends and Allies,
Our annual Youth Leadership Summit happened a few weeks ago, and I’m still buzzing with the excitement of what is possible when young people are truly engaged as partners and leaders. You will hear much in the pages of this issue that pertains to the youth chapter recommendations and the Summit itself, so I would like to share with you another peek behind the curtain to the months, weeks and days leading up to the Summit.
A status offense is the illegal behavior of a youth under age 18. According to the law, that same behavior would not be criminal if committed by an adult. Some examples of status offenses include truancy, running away from biological family or a foster care placement, or violating curfews.
Power of One
With elections right around the corner, I am reminded of how important it is to elect a leader who considers the overall safety of those for whom they are responsible. My recent interactions with police officers, coupled with the growing tension around the nation about how people in power treat minorities, is on my mind as I write this.
It’s back to school month! And in this article I will highlight the importance of schools as a resource for preventing youth from ending up on the streets. Becoming a homeless youth can start early and is often the result of an accumulation of many issues. Therefore, it is imperative that we start our prevention work as early as possible. Schools are perfect avenues for us to connect with youth who are most vulnerable and provide them the support they need to live normal teen lives.
Around this time last summer, in all, there were 65 possible beds for homeless youth in the city of Seattle. But did you know that there has been a near 300% increase in the number of shelter beds this year? New shelters have been popping up left and right since last year. One such shelter in the International District recently opened its doors in April. This new shelter is located on Jackson Street, close to Rainier Avenue. It is hidden in a big grey building towering behind a blue fence. If you aren’t looking for the place with the right eyes, it is very easy to miss.
Art in Action
I Come From
I come from the trash, the garbage, the murky gray, the hidden places I’d rather not say.
I come from spending early years in the noise, the loud voices, the clutter of broken toys.
As I grew, my heart broken, overheated and boiling my blood.