Odalis, Region 6 - NYC

Odalis, Youth in Progress Intern for Region 6, NYC

 

Q: What challenges did you face in foster care?

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.

 

Q: You are in college and working full-time in the summer as an OCFS intern— that is something to be proud of! Was there a person or event that made a difference for you?

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.

 

Q: Do you have any advice for kids in foster care now?

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.

 

Q: What did you need that you feel like wasn't available to you?

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.

 

Access the New York State Bill of Rights for Children and Youth in Foster Care.