Odalis, Youth in Progress Intern for Region 6, NYC
A: While in foster care, I have had to deal with the feeling of not belonging. As a youth in care, I often think about my biological family and how they are not people I can necessarily depend on, and that makes me want to see my foster family as the only people in my life. However, I don’t feel that way all the time; I suppose it is human nature to want to seek out your biological family. When it comes to institutions, I also experienced the same feeling of not belonging. My school, which is a predominantly white, private institution, sometimes makes me feel discouraged because of my situation. As a person with goals and resilience, I know that to be in the place I want to be, I must work hard. Hard work is noticed no matter your background, age, race, or gender. I can see a future where I build my own home and family, and that keeps me focused.
A: I would say my determination and the expectations that I set for myself has made the difference for me. I know I am capable of overcoming challenges to reach my goal. Knowing this about myself, makes me work hard so that I can feel proud of myself.
A: Don’t let the fact that you’re in foster care be one of the reasons why you choose not to achieve your goals. Wherever there is a will, there is a way. Educate yourself, speak out, be radical and let yourself be known. There is so much you can accomplish if you just look for it.
A: I wasn’t aware of my basic rights as a youth in care. I am grateful to be working with OCFS this summer because it gives me the opportunity to better inform myself.