Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Jennifer Justice gives a shout-out to the OHIO YAB in November First Friday
A Message from OFC Deputy Director Jennifer Justice – November 1, 2013
If you’re like me, you probably could use more time. Time to get all your work done, get your house in order, run errands, get to the gym, read a book and, of course, more time to spend with family and friends.
I especially was thinking about the concept of time after I had the opportunity to attend the October meeting of the Ohio Youth Advisory Board (OYAB). Each quarter, youth who are or have been in agency custody gather from across the state to establish connections, discuss their experiences and brainstorm solutions to the problems they share. Thank you to the adult supporters who transport these youth and participate in concurrent independent living program discussions. I know this is a significant time commitment, and I am sure the youth in your care appreciate that you have made their participation a priority.
To conclude OYAB meetings, each youth recounts something “new” and something “good” as a reminder to keep moving forward, because their lives have great potential. At last month’s meeting, an older teen wanted everyone to know that she was being adopted and would not have to leave her foster family when she turned 18. Another teen announced that he soon would turn 18 and become independent. He was both excited and scared about being on his own, and he hoped he could manage to stay in high school. Other youth described their new part-time jobs, their baby’s birthday, and accomplishments in such extracurriculars as band and sports.
It never fails that I walk away from these meetings incredibly impressed by these young people but also aware that, for those still in care, we must ensure that they leave with the permanent connections they need to be productive adults.