As I was riding the train home from work last night reading essays from some of the 120 Foster Youth Intern (FYI) hopefuls, a conversation behind me caught my attention. There was a man on the phone evidently talking to his soon-to-be college graduate daughter. He was giving her advice on upcoming job interviews, telling her how many days to wait before she should follow-up, even right down to a specific reply when turning down a job offer. I sat there reflecting on how beneficial just one conversation like this would have been to the foster youth whose life stories I was reading. I wanted to turn around and say to the man, “your daughter is so lucky to have you.”
I went back to reading the FYI essays wondering where these former foster youth would receive guidance such as this that each young adult needs.
One applicant spoke about the need for people to step up and offer guidance to youth who have the desire to attend college, “This was a challenge I had to face alone and I think that many youth give up on this dream because they don’t know where to start. I think if educational opportunities were provided to youth, they would take it.”
Another applicant wrote, “Many times foster youth only need someone to take an interest in their future and well-being. Providing them with tools and resources will help to ensure youth are on the path to receiving degrees instead of homelessness, unemployment, or incarceration, as many foster youth face once they are emancipated.”
“Instead of feeling proud and excited about being celebrated for the achievement of graduating from high school and being accepted into college, I was troubled by the fact that I knew that there were many other foster youth should have been there with me.”
In a few short months, the 2011 Foster Youth Interns will arrive in DC full of passion and ideas for improving the road ahead for those still left behind in the system.