Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Honoring Our Beginnings

Ohio is known as the birthplace of aviation. Let it be known that PCSAO is the birthplace of the Ohio Youth Advisory Board, and has served as its support base for the past three years. What began with a room full of foster care youth from across the state is now recognized as a legitimate and serious youth voice for all those who are served by the Ohio child welfare system.

It cannot be understated that we would not be where we are today without the stability and reputation of PCSAO. What better way for a young organization to grow, than under the guidance of an established entity?  A very heartfelt thank you to Crystal Ward Allen, Brandi Scales, Greg Kapcar, Max Bucey, Jessica Schneider-Chance, Kelly Knight and Jeed Jitprasert, and every intern or associate that played a part in supporting the Ohio Youth Advisory Board…

Just as the youth involved in the Ohio YAB are traveling along the road to independence, so the Ohio Youth Advisory Board is developing our own unique identity as well. This evolution has been recently supported by ODJFS through their generous investment in the growth and development of county youth advisory boards. From the very beginning, Ohio YAB officers have hoped to establish and build a regional presence throughout the state, and building up county youth advisory boards is an important step in that direction.

As founding member, two-term President and current Alumni Facilitator of the Ohio YAB, I truly believe that our organization is on the brink of being one of the greatest youth advisory boards in the county. And we owe our progress to our supporters. From the meeting spaces, to the logistics of organizing events, to helping craft our message and present it to the various entities, PCSAO has been there all the way. Teaching and guiding us as we maneuver the halls of the legislature; advocating for our fellow brothers and sisters. As we transformed from able youth to advocating adults, PCSAO was just a heartbeat away, aiding in breaking down the bureaucratic tape and language.

It started as an idea, a call to action for young people to make a difference. The seed of an organization was planted, and PCSAO helped grow the leaders to lead it. We have made a difference in the lives of so many people and will continue to do so. I offer my gratitude to the organization that has supported our development for so long, and my appreciation for Doris Edelmann and Lisa Dickson for serving as primary adult supporters during our transition.

I offer up my gratitude to PCSAO, OHILA, ODJFS, OCWTP, OACCA, FCAA-Ohio, the Supreme Court of Ohio, and the many other organizations and individuals who have contributed to our success. On behalf of current and former foster youth, I say a heartfelt “Thank You” to everyone for everything in regards to OUR Ohio Youth Advisory Board.

Thank you and God Bless,

--President Adrian M. McLemore

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