Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cieria Rodriguez-Toney, 2011 FosterClub Outstanding Young Leader

Congratulations to Cieria Rodriguez-Toney for being chosen by FosterClub 
to be recognized as a 2011 Outstanding Young Leader.

Prior to being elected as the Ohio YAB's first female President, Cieria served as Vice President for two years.
Cieria has participated in youth panels for several organizations, including Capital Law School's National Center for Adoption Law and Policy and the 2011 Northeast Ohio Independent Living Summit. She was invited by the Ohio Supreme Court to present during a 2010 Judicial Teleconference on Youth Voice in Court.
 Throughout the state, Cieria continues to support the efforts of county youth advisory boards, including:
  • Co-presenting a workshop for Lorain County foster youth on how to build and maintain foster care youth/alumni communities
  • Co-presenting a workshop for Stark County youth on navigating relationships with biological parents

During her time in foster care, Cieria felt disconnected from her Hispanic heritage. As a young adult, Cieria is currently advocating for opportunities for Ohio foster care youth to reconnect with their culture during their time in foster care. Particularly, she would like to see the Columbus International Festival offer a youth track, at cost to the public but free of charge to foster youth.

Because of her passion to make a difference, Cieria recently helped facilitate the 2011 Hispanic Leadership Conference.

Cieria is an articulate advocate, skilled at diplomacy and very reliable. She exemplifies the type of vision  and determination that young people need to succeed. And... she is also a wonderful mother:

Monday, April 25, 2011

2011 FosterClub AllStar Dauntea Sledge

Dauntea Sledge is a former Franklin County foster youth who currently serves as President of the Franklin County Youth Advisory Board, and Media Spokesperson of the Ohio Youth Advisory Board. He is an active member of the Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America.

Dauntea's volunteer experience includes the following:
  • Bridges Out of Poverty Steering Committee
  • Youth Violence Prevention Board
  • Franklin County Citizen Corps Counsel
  • Salesian Boys and Girls Club
  • Americorps VISTA 
After attending the Bridges Out of Poverty and Getting Ahead programs as a participant, Dauntea now assists facilitators in leading workshops that support the Bridges Out of Poverty Initiative.

During his time with the Salesians Boys and Girls Club, Dauntea was the runner-up for "Youth of the Year" and received the "Turned Around Teen of the Year" award.

Dauntea spent a year volunteering for Americorps Vista, working for Community Properties of Ohio, working with people in poverty and broken homes.
Recent activities that Dauntea has been involved in include:
  • Participating in an FCAA/FosterClub Focus Group to investigate launching an Americorps pilot targeted specifically for foster care youth
  • Presenting as part of a Youth Panel during the 2010 Ohio CASA Conference
  • Co-presenting workshops for youth during the 2010 Northeast Ohio Independent Living Summit
  • Sharing the importance of "Youth Voice In Court" during a 2010 Judicial Teleconference hosted by the Ohio Supreme Court
After presenting during the 2010 Judicial Teleconference on Youth Voice in Court, Dauntea was asked to write an article for Common Ground, a publication of the Ohio Supreme Court that goes out to each of Ohio's 88 judicial districts. The decision was made that, from now on, there will be a Youth Corner in the Common Ground Publication.

During his time in foster care, Dauntea was able to stay in touch with his younger brother Antonio, in order to support and encourage him, and make sure he is aware of resources to assist in navigating both foster care and young adulthood.

Dauntea and Antonio currently volunteer to co-facilitate monthly activities for Village Network Columbus in order to help to prepare foster youth for adulthood, and encourage them to support one another as peers.

Additional investments that Dauntea makes with his time include:
  • Supporting the goals of National Center for Adoption Law and Policy to starting a free legal clinic for current and former foster youth
  • Supporting ODJFS in improving the quality of caseworker visits
  • Supporting Ohio CASA in their desire to include the voices of current and former foster youth on Citizen Review Panels.
  • Being a wonderful father to his two children: