This workshop was created and developed by the Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America.
Ask for FIVE VOLUNTEERS – you narrate this story, while they act it out: A man was walking down the street and he falls into a deep hole. The walls were too high and too steep – so he could not get out. A doctor came along, wrote down a prescription on a piece of paper and threw it down into the hole, and walked away. A banker came along, threw some money down into the hole, and walked away. A priest/nun came along, said a prayer for the person down in the hole, and then walked away. Finally, his friend walked by – and jumped down into the hole with him. The first man, in shock, asks, "What did you do that for? Are you nuts?!?! Now we're both stuck down here!" The friend answers, "Yes, but I've been here before and I know the way out.” (Ask youth to tell you what means in terms of being a voice to improve foster care)
Foster Care Alumni of America’s Culture of Foster Care Postcards – each one is created by a current or former foster youth and demonstrates the shared cultural experience of living in foster care, firsthand. Ask youth participants if they can relate to any of the messages…
Do you recognize any of these people? Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony and Ed Roberts What are they famous for? (MLK: civil rights, Susan B. Anthony: women’s lib, Ed Roberts: founder of the disability rights movement) Did they do it on their own, or did they have help from others ? (Lone Ranger vs. collective voice and shared success) Did all of the people who helped them share the exact same experience? Or did their efforts also succeed because of support from ALLIES? (For example: white people who were allies in the Civil Rights Movement; caseworkers who are allies in the foster care movement)
The idea behind consumer movements is that the consumers of a service should be involved in its design and delivery, and should be given opportunities to evaluate their experience. We are the consumers of foster care , and any time that a new law is passed that effects foster care, it needs our input Consumers of a service should be involved in its: • Design • Delivery • Evaluation
History of foster care movement: Canadian Youth in Care (CYC) now called the Youth in Care Network This led to the creation of California Youth Connection (CYC) This led to legislation requiring states to create youth advisory boards 4. The need for foster care alumni to ALWAYS have a voice and community that they can never “age out” of led to Foster Care Alumni of America 5. There is an international foster care movement as well
BLINDFOLD ACTIVITY: 1. Invite one participant to volunteer (sometimes it’s more engaging / effective to choose a caseworker). 2. Blindfold the volunteer. 3. Take them to the hallway or back corner of the room. 4. Giving one and only one instruction, participants are invited to get this person from point A (where they are now) to point B (a predetermined destination)
You have a choice. You can be mad – you can be frustrated – you can feel that life is unfair. You can be a Lone Ranger, in the foster care system, trying to make it. Often unaware and disconnected from resources, information and opportunities that might benefit you or others. Or – you can be EMPOWERED – you can be an Agent of Change Using YOUR voice and YOUR insights / experiences to make things better. You have the opportunity to taking your personal experience and insights, and create something from them that benefit others.
Taking the blindfold off, and putting EMPOWERMENT on: It is vitally important for agencies to move from “serving youth” to “empowering youth” to participate in leadership, by being a part of service design and development
How being involved in a Youth Advisory Board benefits youth: Ask youth the question first, and let them share possible answers Add more details / info if necessary
Professionals have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by inviting foster care youth and alumni to be a part of your work. In everything we do, we bring our first-hand experience and valuable insights. It is our passion to improve outcomes for foster care youth. This adds value to your conferences. It helps professionals to achieve their organizational goals. It can revitalize your passion and remind you of why you chose this career in the first place.
Object lesson: If one person is trying to speak, that person could be ignored / droned out by others. But… what about two people – three people – more? Participating in a Youth Advisory Board means being a part of a COLLECTIVE VOICE – which is much more difficult to silence.
It’s about your pain having a purpose. Not only will you survive your challenges – but you can also help others.
No one wants to be a poster child. The more young people participate, the better. Having just one foster care youth/alumni involved can feel like being a token, or just being there for decoration And we need our allies / adult supporters to inform, support, and prepare us
Youth panels are one example of what can be accomplished with a collective voice
When foster care youth and alumni testify about legislation, Senators and House Representatives listen. Quote by Martin Luther King: "And there's a reality; let's not fool ourselves: this bill isn't going to get through if we don't put some work in it, and some determined pressure. And that's why I've said that in order to get this bill through, we've got to arouse the conscience of the nation..." Having the voices of those who experienced foster care firsthand has the power to arouse the conscience of legislators.
Winter Ball for Foster Care Youth: Facilitated by Montgomery County Youth Advisory Board. The youth choose the decorations, music, etc. Foster care youth are often unable to attend dances, like Prom. Therefore, every year, the VISION Board holds a Winter Ball. The youth advisory board chose the colors, food, music and theme.
It’s not enough just to take off the blindfold – the next step is knowing which steps to take to make a difference. Invite one youth to volunteer. Have him/her stand across the room from you. Ask: “Can you get from where you are to where I am in just one jump?” Have them try it. Then, give them the option of doing so in 10 jumps. Message: Sometimes we want to get from point A to point Z in one jump. But there are many interim steps that need to be taken in order to succeed .
This is an initial glance regarding steps to take – once officers have been established re: your Youth Advisory Board
Steps for securing group identity - youth brainstorm regarding: Code of Conduct Mission Statement Recommendations Name of Board Logo
Mentoring equips youth with an adult supporter that encourages growth by acting as a positive role model. Through these relationships, youth gain skills through experiential learning, observation and dialogue. Mentoring assists youth to develop and strengthen transferable skills that will empower them to become leaders. Coaching works to empower young people by providing an “invisible” hand of support. The coaching model provides young people with the opportunity to reach their own conclusions. As a coach, adult supporters of the Youth Advisory Board take the back seat, and allow youth to lead the process. This allows opportunities for empowerment, trial-and-error, and reflecting after events: “What went well? What might we improve upon?”
“ LEARN BY DOING” Hands-on, experiential learning opportunities that are developmentally appropriate and appealing to young people: “ Do, Reflect, Apply” DO • Young people experience an activity, which involves exploring or discovering something related to the learning topic. (Exploring meets developmental needs of adolescents: choosing values and lifelong commitments) REFLECT • Young people share by describing what happened or what they experienced. When young people share what they’ve learned, they not only stimulate their own growth, but the growth of their group as well. • Young people process what they’ve learned and shared in order to look for patterns or themes, with the goal of building a bridge to new knowledge and skills. APPLY: • Young people generalize from this experience to implications related to their own lives or to broader societal experiences. • Young people apply or think about what can be done with their newly acquired information or skill.
Why might these factors undermine the success of your Youth Advisory Board? *Have youth explain why…
How might these things help? (give youth a chance to share their thoughts) Outreach – increases attendance Strength in Numbers – decreases the likelihood of token involvement (collective voice) Transportation Support – helps with transportation issues Peer Mentoring – support one another regarding personal issues Delegation – helps with time management Stipends – helps offset the cost of youth participation Training – addresses lack of experience
Many people within the community long to make a more powerful and lasting impact when it comes to foster care. Attend their meetings and tell them who you are and what the YAB is all about. The people who care most about improving outcomes will be drawn to you!
You are planting the seeds With your efforts, these seeds will grow At some point, new leadership and new ideas will emerge The board will be refreshed and renewed by the insights of the next generation of young people in/from foster care
2012 creating youth advisory boards
Creating a Youth Advisory Board Share YOUR your insights to make things better for the foster youth of tomorrow Workshop developed by the Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America
Consumer and Social Movements:• Civil rights movement• Women’s suffrage• Disability rights• Faith movements• GLBTQ
Did you have a voice when it cameto your foster care experience?• Design of foster care• Delivery of foster care• Evaluation of foster care
Foster Care Movement:• Canada’s Youth in Care Network (CYC)• California Youth Connection (CYC)• Statewide youth advisory boards (YAB)• Foster Care Alumni of America (FCAA)• International foster care movement
Moving from serving youth to empowering youth Youth Serving Agencies Youth Led AgenciesYouth are viewed as the recipients of Youth act as developers , facilitatorsprograms, services, tools and and evaluators of programs andresources. services.Youth are showcased as a “Success Youth act as agency representatives,Story” to promote a program. and promote positive impact to community.Youth receive pre-packaged issues Youth have the opportunity toand topics. research multiple issues and decide on final projectsYouth do not receive formal Youth receive strategic educationeducation or training about advocacy and training about advocacy and itsmovements and systemic change. impact on larger social issues and systems. Source: Honoring Emancipated Youth
Empowering Youth for Success:• Leadership and Professionalism• Resumes and College Applications• Emotional Connections and Trust• Positive Memories and Healing
Adding Value to Efforts and EventsOrchestrated by Professionals• First-hand expertise• Insights supporting initiatives• Organizational goals• Add value to conferences• Better outcomes for youth• Revitalize your work• Legislation
Structure of the BoardOnce officers are established: • Code of Conduct • Mission Statement • Recommendations • Strategic Plan • Marketing Plan • Logo, Mascot • Group Identity
Duties of the PresidentLeadership skills: Knows the workthat needs to be done and how/when todelegate.Vision for the future of the Board:Above all, ensures that the board isAlways moving forward.Empowering members: Focus on theabilities of every Board member andhow they can stay involved andcontribute. Never dominates themeeting.Direction: Presides over meetings,making sure that they begin and end ontime. Allows allows ample but notExcessive time for discussion. Bringsissues to a satisfactory conclusion whensensing a discussion is dragging orbeing monopolized.
Duties of the Vice PresidentReady and available:Presides at meetings and otherfunctions in the absence of thepresident.Must be prepared to assume the officeof President if necessary.Second-in-Command:Informed and up-to-date regardingissuesSkilled in handling the board’s business.Annual Report:Responsible for a year-end report onthe board’s accomplishments.Other duties as assigned.
Duties of the MediaSpokespersonGathers news about the board andgets it out to the public.Establishes contact between thelocal news media and newspapers.Prepares news releases anddistributes them to newspapers andradio and television stations.Includes the “who, what, when,where, why and how” – a descriptionof the activity and how it affects thecommunity.Administers and monitors allelectronic communication including,but not limited to, email, Facebookand the OYAB Website and blog
Duties of the Secretary• Keeps all board records for continuous reference to all that has happened.• With the president, sets a tentative agenda of each meeting several days in advance.• Advises the president during the meeting about the agenda.• Counts votes, unless someone else is appointed.• Maintains a complete list of members and contacts.• Reads previous board meeting minutes.
Duties of theParliamentarianThe board authority andconsultant to the president onprocedural matters.Has a working knowledge ofparliamentary law.Calls attention to any errors inprocedure but has no authority toenforce ideas or rulings.Skills: Diplomacy; Robert’s Rulesof Order: motion, move, second
Duties of the TreasurerAssists in developing the annualbudget for the board.- Keeps record of all board funds.- Maintains accurate records ofincome and expenses.At the beginning of the year, havean official treasurer’s book and thecomplete records of the outgoingtreasurer.- Sends out membership accounts.- Assists with other tasks as assigned by the President.
Structure of the Board Post-Officer Elections:• Code of Conduct• Mission Statement• Recommendations• Strategic Plan• Marketing Plan• Logo, Mascot• Group Identity
Youth Boards and Role of AdultsAdults serve as facilitators, allowing teens and young adultsto take on more of a leadership role.This is a coaching and mentorship role: Preparing youth fornew experiences, while also empowering them to take the leadwhen it comes to decision-making.
What debriefing with an adult supporter looks like:
Barriers to Success• Low Attendance• Transportation Issues• Personal Issues• Time Management• Financial Issues• Lack of Experience
Overcoming Barriers• Outreach• Strength in Numbers• Transportation Support• Peer Mentoring• Delegation• Stipends• Training
What Organizations Could Your YAB Partner With?
Tools for Communication• Phone • Wiki• Email • Facebook• Website • Newsletter• Blog • E-Blast
Laying the foundation forfuture leadership of your board