2014 CCAI Foster Youth Intern Introduces First Lady Michelle Obama Today

amnoni at the white house

 Today, the Administration celebrated Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, hosting children of White House staff to spend the day at work with their parents. For the first time ever, the event was expanded to include children and youth in the foster care system, disconnected from family, and/or who may not have a parent with a job that does not allow them to bring their children to work.

Throughout the day, the children had the opportunity to enjoy a series of educational activities and work-based learning opportunities. The highlight of the day was a visit from First Lady Michelle Obama, who shared stories about her childhood and encouraged the children that they can achieve their dreams.

 The First Lady was introduced by CCAI’s very own 2014 Foster Youth Intern, Amnoni Myers, who is currently a White House Intern for the Domestic Policy Council and supported the planning of this event. Inspired by the words of her mentor, Amnoni has not let her past dictate her future, “As a White House Intern, I am now working to increase opportunities for many of America’s most vulnerable youth. Today we celebrate the expansion of Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day at the White House and other federal agencies to include hundreds of young people who are not typically included in this event, but like their peers need to be reminded that their future is bright and their potential is boundless.”

 Click here to watch Amnoni’s introduction of the First Lady, beginning at 29:30.

Read Amnoni’s Inspiring Story…and Many More in CCAI’s 2014 Annual Report!

As Featured in CCAI’s 2014 Annual Report.

Amnoni_CCAIAnnualReport2014Q & A with Amnoni Myers, 2014 Foster Youth Intern

Click Here to read CCAI’s 2014 Annual Report!

Describe your time in foster  care.

I became a ward of the state the day I was born, addicted to drugs and abandoned in the hospital as a result of my parents’ involvement with drugs, criminal activity and poverty. I encountered trauma at a very young age resulting from various types of abuse and neglect. Not being raised by my biological parents was extremely difficult as I did not have a natural support system throughout my life. At the age of 10, I was reunified with my mother but after two short years, my mother voluntarily returned my siblings and me back to the state without notice. I was placed in foster homes and continuously moved around from home to home until the age of 18. When I aged out of the foster care system, I had little support and stability and concluded that foster parents seemed more interested in the economic benefits of caring for me, rather than loving me as if I was one of their own.

Describe your experience with the Foster  Youth Internship Program.

Every summer, the Foster Youth Internship Program™ provides young adults like me an Amnoniopportunity to give perspective and voice to the challenges that foster youth face by sharing our personal experiences within the system to Members of Congress and their staff. I was often told that my experiences would never be used for good, but being an “FYI” with CCAI changed that. As a Foster Youth Intern, I interned last summer for Senator Grassley. When he highlighted my life story on the U.S. Senate Floor, I quickly realized that my story had significance and understood that Congress does care.

My experience on Capitol Hill through CCAI’s Foster Youth Internship Program™ was maximized because I had the opportunity to not only intern on Capitol Hill, but to write a report on federal child welfare policy and brief  both Congress and the White House Domestic Policy Council on issues that I care deeply about. Never in my life did I imagine I would be afforded an opportunity such as this. CCAI helped me grow in my confidence and, even today, the caring CCAI staff gently push me to reach my potential, both personally and professionally. I am really thankful I decided to intern with CCAI, because they opened a window of hope for me and so many others.

What impact do you think you have made for children and youth currently in the foster care system through CCAI’s Foster Youth Internship Program™?

You never really know the impact you have on a person, place or even an entire system in the moment. Last summer was all about planting seeds that will take shape and grow for the next generation of foster youth. You don’t always see change happen immediately, but if you continue to fight for justice and persevere, transformation happens.

Just recently, I met two young girls who are in the foster care system. After sharing my story and the work I did this summer with CCAI, they immediately thanked me for fighting for them. Conversations like this are when I realize the work I was doing as a Foster Youth Intern made a difference. Striving to make an impact on someone’s life goes far beyond just doing what seems good. It is doing good in the face of adversity and having the perspective that one day it will produce results, even if you can’t see it right away.

Amnoni at Angels in Adoption_CCAIAnnualReport2014

What are you currently up to?

I recently began an internship at the White House with the Domestic Policy Council on Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity. This would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of CCAI’s staff and the opportunity to brief this same office during the Foster Youth Internship Program™. After completing the FYI Program last summer I was really nervous and anxious about pursuing the White House internship. The CCAI staff were some of my biggest cheerleaders through the application process. CCAI has become more than a place I interned with. They have become my family. The Foster Youth Internship Program™ helped instill confidence in me, and has given me the tools necessary to continue on the journey of advocating for foster youth and helping to raise up the next generation of leaders.

Click Here to read more of CCAI’s 2014 Annual Report!

Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute Names New Director of Policy

PRESS RELEASE – APRIL 1, 2015

For more information contact Allison Coble at allison@ccainstitute.org or 202-544-8500

CCAI_logo

CONGRESSIONAL COALITION ON ADOPTION INSTITUTE NAMES CHRISTEN GLICKMAN AS NEW DIRECTOR OF POLICY TO LEAD ORGANIZATION’S DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL POLICY EFFORTS

 WASHINGTON, DC, April 1, 2015 – The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), partnered nonprofit to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA), is pleased to welcome Christen Krzywonski Glickman as the organization’s Director of Policy. She will lead CCAI’s government relations, education and advocacy strategies in domestic and international child welfare, permanency and adoption policy.

 “My primary goal is to expand CCAI’s impact among policymakers and the child welfare community by working together on nonpartisan policies to improve the lives of children,” said Christen Glickman, CCAI Director of Policy. “With the stalwart leadership of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Co-Chairs, I am confident that we will continue to eliminate policy barriers that hinder children from finding forever families.”

 Prior to joining CCAI, Glickman most recently consulted independently on childhood trauma, child welfare, and education policy. Christen previously advised Senator Evan Bayh – a former member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption – on issues affecting children and families, including intercountry adoption. She also served as Legislative Director for Representative Joaquin Castro of Texas when he was a State Representative.

 As part of the National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths, Glickman was instrumental in the “Protect Our Kids Act of 2012,” which created the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities. Glickman helped prosecutors across the country with difficult child maltreatment cases and assisted Members of Congress with legislative analysis on various child maltreatment topics as Staff Attorney for the National District Attorneys Association’s National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse.

 “Christen is a longtime friend of CCAI since her days working with Senator Evan Bayh. She continued to stay involved in our work as a volunteer year after year. Her commitment to CCAI is a tremendous gift, and we are honored that she has joined our team. Christen’s policy analysis expertise and collaborative approach to improving children’s policy are extraordinary,” said Becky Weichhand, CCAI’s Executive Director.

 Glickman was also a Graduate Public Interest Fellow at the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law, and earned her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center, where she represented children involved with abuse and neglect and juvenile delinquency cases and was awarded for her pro bono work. Glickman is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and Texas.

 For fourteen years, CCAI has been an established resource for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, the United States Congress’ caucus on adoption and permanency for children. The CCA is the largest bicameral, bipartisan Congressional Member organization and works to engage Members of Congress on issues pertaining to children in need of permanency, and domestic and international child welfare, as well as to advocate for every child’s right to a safe, stable and loving family. CCAI works to provide federal policymakers with the information and resources needed to make the dream of a family a reality for every child through its core programs, including the Angels in Adoption™ Program, the Foster Youth Internship Program™ and 20/20 Vision Delegations.

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 The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of children around the world in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes and to eliminating the barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic right of a family.

 For more information or to learn more about the work of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, visit www.ccainstitute.org or contact Allison Coble at allison@ccainstitute.org or 202.544.8500.