Celebrating Ten Years of Youth Advocacy: "It gives us a platform to show the world what we are capable of doing."
This blog is part of a 2-part series celebrating the tenth anniversary of Juvenile Law Center’s Youth Advocacy Program. Start reading the first part of this series here. The second part of this series focuses on Youth Fostering Change. Please follow our hashtags - #10YearsofYA, #10YearsofYFC- and become a Youth Advocacy Sustainer to support these young people as they continue to fight for change in years to come!
Jasmine is an alumna of Youth Fostering Change and an active member of our Youth Speakers Bureau. As a member of YFC, Jasmine worked on projects focused on preventing youth homelessness and age-appropriate placements for older youth,
The thing that bought me to Youth Fostering Change was the fact that I could share my story and be around other people who had been in the child welfare system. At the point in my life, I really felt I was ready to share some of the experiences I had encountered. This program has impacted my entire life. I’ve been given so many amazing opportunities through becoming a youth advocate and now an alumna. I am honestly grateful for everything the program has done for me. It was the support system we all needed while in care.
One of my favorite projects we worked on was the homelessness project. We got to personally talk about how homelessness had affected either us or someone we knew. I was also in my last year as a youth advocate at the time. It was important for me because this was not only a major issue for youth in the child welfare system but also in the entire state. Also, I was a person impacted by homelessness. It was an emotional ride at first because I was afraid to speak my truth, but there were many other people in the program who had been through homelessness as well.
I think celebrating ten years of the Youth Advocacy Program is important because these programs were created by amazing people who had a vision for us youth. Ten years later, it is still successful. It’s important for youth like me because it gives us a platform to show the world what we are capable of doing. It also helps people see how important it is for youth to have a voice and stand up for themselves and others. I love that people want to listen.
I hope that, in the next ten years, Juvenile Law Center’s Youth Advocacy Program reaches the entire world and shows people how strong our programs are. I would love for us to collaborate with more places in our city, such as group homes, the Achieving Independence Center, or any places that can help youth in the child welfare system advocate for themselves and others that will come after us. I wish for many good things to come to us because, personally, this program has changed my entire perspective on my experiences in the system as well as my personal life. I participated when I needed to, and I am forever grateful for every opportunity the program has introduced to me. It’s unfair that the whole world can’t all be a part of the program, but I’m proud that I was given the opportunity of a lifetime. Here’s to ten more years of Youth Advocacy!