Thursday, April 19, 2018

2018 April OHIO Youth Advisory Board Elections

Congratulations, elected 2018 OHIO YAB Officers:
  • President Elect Jewel Harris, Allen County
  • Vice President Elect Sam Dillon, Athens County
  • Media Spokesperson Elect Christian Warren, Greene County
  • Parliamentarian Elect Von’Celis Leonard, Montgomery County 
  • Treasurer Elect Roman Sandhu, Allen County 
  • Secretary Elect Evelynn Self, Lucas/Sandusky

Our new Officers-in-Training include:
  1. Patricia Mazey, Stark County (President runner-up)
  2. Justiynn Stoneknight, Hamilton County (Vice President runner-up)
  3. D’Marco Shaw, Montgomery County (Media Spokesperson runner-up)
  4. For the Parliamentarian postion, we had three runners-up who tied (Terrianna Rapp of Franklin County, Matthew Williamson of Hamilton County, Stevie Hayslip of Greene County)
  5. Rebekah Milnes, Stark County (Treasurer runner-up)

Link to more pictures.

Monday, April 16, 2018

OHIO YAB Video Shoot

Jewel Harris did a wonderful job.

Link to more photos.

Kyajah Rodriguez's federal testimony on the Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act

Link to more photos

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

United States House of Representatives
House Committee on Financial Services
Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance

Proponent testimony on the Amended Version of H.R. 2069, the Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act

Chairman Duffy, Vice Chairman Ross, Ranking Member Cleaver, and members of the committee,

Thank you for this opportunity to offer testimony on the amended version of H.R. 2069, the Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act.

My name is Ky Rodriguez, I was put in the foster care system the summer just before my freshman year of high school. I am now a senior at Fort Hayes High School where I am President of the Student Activities Council, Treasurer of the Senior Class Council, member of the National Honors Society, Leader of our Mock Trial team, and an author published by The Ohio State University.

Throughout my trying experience in foster care, I’ve eagerly taken advantage of every opportunity that crossed my path. However, as I near graduation, all my years of hard work are at a terrifying risk of going to waste because of my vulnerability to homelessness.

When underprivileged youth are orphaned by circumstances out of their control, the foster care system steps in and fills that parental absence. The system becomes our caretaker, provider, and the closest thing to a parent many of us have ever known.

However, unlike other children whose parental system allows them a gradual, guided, and forgiving
transition into adulthood; we are cut off at the unripe age of 18 and forced to make an abrupt transition into adulthood as vulnerable and unequipped youth. Our success is unlikely, and our alternatives are dangerous.

The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act would correct this and provide children with
a safety net we desperately need by preventing the years of homelessness that come as package deal with the federal housing assistance waitlist. This would dramatically shrink the homeless population as whole because we make up such a large portion of it. By prioritizing us before we become homeless, you’d turn off the faucet before drawing water from the bottom of an overflowing bucket.

This bill is one way of supporting orphaned youth in our transition into adulthood just how a parent would their own child. It is responsible federal parenting. Sure, it won’t prevent every child exiting foster care from becoming homeless but it’s practical under our circumstances. Homelessness and the horrors that come with it are an imminent danger and this bill is what we can​ do right now to stop it.

Please support us in our strive to disrupt a cycle that leaves kids exiting foster care underserved, undersupported, and eventually homeless.