My first week in Washington, DC

Prior to my arrival in Washington, DC last week I was nervous about leaving my support group back home, acclimating to an unfamiliar area, and as ridiculous as it may sound, making a friend. So far I can say with certainty that I’ve made ten–my fellow CCAI Foster Youth Interns. Over the past seven days, I have bonded with each fellow intern in ways that I never knew possible. While we have traveled from all over the US to work in Washington, DC for the summer, we share one thing in common: we survived the foster care system, and have come here to lend a voice to past, present, and future foster youth.

2010 FYI Class on the retreat in Danville, PA (Sarah, front row, 2nd from left)

Upon meeting the fellow interns, I realized that they were just as nervous as I was. However, it didn’t take long before we were sharing stories and planning activities together. The day after our arrival we headed to a retreat in Danville, Pennsylvania, a small town with a population of 4,000. The town was warm and welcoming, and we were more than excited to be staying in a historical home that was once part of the Underground Railroad. There we engaged in group activities that encouraged us to bond, all while learning about what to expect from our summer in DC. The retreat also gave us the opportunity to learn more about CCAI, its staff members, and supporters whose generosity and dedication made this all possible.

After a long and exciting first week as a Foster Youth Intern, we are anxious to begin interning in our various congressional offices. While we are all nervous and don’t know what to expect, we do know that we have each other to lean on.

-Sarah Pauter, 2010 Foster Youth Intern