Thursday, March 29, 2012

Summit County YAB: Leaders of Tomorrow

Summit County foster care youth and young adults aspire to be the "Leaders of Tomorrow."

Participation and involvement in the Summit County Youth Advisory Board benefits foster care youth, and young adults with a foster care history, by building camaraderie and facilitating an atmosphere of empowerment and improved self-esteem.

One active member of this board found it easier to adjust to her new adoptive home, due to having positive support from her peers. Another young person described YAB involvement as “the experience of a lifetime.”

Through involvement on the board, foster care youth have opportunities that they would not have otherwise. They are viewed as difference-makers, rather than simply as clients or recipients of services. During their presentation at a local CASA Dinner, for example, they were considered “honored guests.”

In the meantime, local organizations who invite Summit County’s “Leaders of Tomorrow” to present at their events are impressed by the fact that youth conduct themselves with poise and maturity, address each question with honest and insightful answers, and express appreciation to front-line staff and CASA volunteers for the work that they do...

In 2011, the Leaders of Tomorrow were involved in:
  •  Leading monthly trainings for all court staff
  •  Speaking engagement during Adoption Advocacy Day in Columbus  
  •  Presenting for agency staff during the Placement and Permanency Planning Retreat in December
Several of their members have also participated in the Crossover Youth Permanency Model discussion at Summit County Juvenile Court. 

Recent activities of the Leaders of Tomorrow include:
  • Regular trainings at their local juvenile court for CASA volunteers
  • Foster parent training for Summit County and two private agencies
The leadership team is currently preparing for:
  • An April speaking engagement for the Child and Family Awareness Symposium
  • A presentation for a May foster parent conference
  • A June training for all the social services staff at Summit County Children Services  (caseworkers, supervisors, social work assistants, etc)
  • A speaking engagement for the Child & Family Awareness Symposium next month.
The Leaders of Tomorrow are being honored by the United Way of Summit County in April as a part of their volunteer celebration.

They were also chosen as a possible recipient of a grant through Leadership Akron, a collective group of active community stakeholders.

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