Across the state, advocates from The Mockingbird Society work tirelessly to bring attention to the challenges young people experiencing foster care and homelessness face. No event is more indicative of this monumental effort than our annual Youth Advocacy Day. This year, over 300 young people and allies met at the state capitol to advocate for Mockingbird’s priorities. These priorities were developed by young people in Mockingbird’s seven statewide Chapters.
On a pleasantly dry December morning, social and advocacy workers from dozens of agencies and non-profits across Washington state gathered at South Seattle College for the annual All Home conference. Early into the conference, a challenge presented by an attendee struck me. As we went around the room naming the various organizations we represented, an older gentleman took the mic and addressed the large conference hall:
2020 marks The Mockingbird Society’s 20th anniversary, a significant milestone for the agency and for the countless youth advocates who have been involved. In the past 20 years, Mockingbird youth leaders have won over 30 major policy reforms, each getting us one step closer to transforming foster care and ending youth homelessness.
Power of One
“You’re such a smart kid!” “You have so much potential.” “You’ll do great things one day.” All the things that adults told me when I was growing up now swirl in my head, along with the echoes of my old hopes and dreams. What I wanted to become changed often. I wanted to be a pastry chef — no, a veterinarian! Maybe I wanted to be a scientist with my name on the project that saves the oceans. Now? Now I just want to make sure no one else goes through what I had to.
Power of One
As a person of color who is white passing, my identity is a complex topic for me. Even as early as age 12, I was brought up to think that appearing white was a benefit that should be taken advantage of—something my heart has never accepted. Does that mean I can call myself a Latina? I mean, my family is Mexican, whether they accepted that fact or not.
Pay It Forward
The job of a social worker is to help a young person navigate the child welfare system, and to look out for their best interests. Social workers must be able to connect, engage, support, and listen to young people if they are going to make a positive difference in their lives.
Want more? Be sure to check out our blog between Mockingbird Times publications: www.mockingbirdsociety.org/about-us-1/blog
Power of One
Before SB 5290 was implemented and passed, I participated in finding better solutions for vulnerable youth and young adults based on my own experiences. These issues are very important to me, both personally and professionally, due to how my life turned out.