Sunday, May 28, 2023

2023 Governor's Press Conference ~ videos featuring Jewel and Diamond

At age 19, OHIO YAB Youth Ambassador Jewel created a video about why community members should foster teens. At age 24, she is in the the process becoming a licensed foster parent. She and her former foster parent Diamond, co-presented during a statewide Foster Care Month Panel. Jewel also created this video to support the Governor’s press conference the next day.

Diamond shared that Jewel came into her life at age 17, stayed with her for six months, and that the two of them have remained in contact for 7 years. 

Quote from Diamond, "I became a foster parent because of my mother, and now she (Jewel) is becoming a foster parent because of me."

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

2023 Foster Care Month Panel

Link to more photos.

OHIO YAB Youth Ambassador Jewel Harris and her former foster parent Diamond Carter Enayazi, co-presented during a statewide Foster Care Month Panel with Youth Ombudsman Jenny Stotts and ODJFS Director Matt Damschroder. Jewel and Diamond's passion to #FosterTeens was shared on the Ohio Channel as part of the Perspectives series. 

Jewel Harris is a former foster youth and has recently been approved as a trainer through the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program. She is an OHIO YAB Youth Ambassador and has presented at ODJFS All Staff Events and mentored younger youth leaders in her role. At age 19, Jewel created a video about why community members should foster teens. At age 24, she is in the process becoming a licensed foster parent. 

Diamond Carter Enayzi
is a writer, award-winning entrepreneur and a foster mother of 12 years. She has fostered over 48 teens and currently has a household of 10. Diamond prides herself on giving motherhood 100% when it comes to teaching life skills and financial literacy to the teens in her care. In the future, she plans to open a group home for teens to support them in preparing for successful futures. 

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Message of thanks from OHIO YAB leadership

To Lisa and ACTION Ohio,

I am writing to express our sincerest thanks for all that you do as an advocate, mentor, and friend to the youth in Ohio. Your dedication and hard work on behalf of our cause is truly invaluable and greatly appreciated. Your tireless efforts to provide support and guidance to the young people in our communities is inspiring, and your commitment to ensuring that their voices are heard and their needs are met is truly commendable. We are so grateful for the time, energy, and resources that you have invested in our organization and the youth of Ohio. Without your support, we would not be able to achieve the positive outcomes we strive for. Your contributions have made a significant difference in the lives of so many, and we are deeply grateful for your unwavering support. 

Once again, thank you for everything that you do. Please know that your efforts are valued and appreciated more than we can express.

With love,

Jewel Harris, OHIO YAB Youth Ambassador

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Hamilton County Youth Advisory Board

The Hamilton County Youth Advisory Board has officially been relaunched. The first meeting was held on Thursday, May 11, 2023.

 In the words of Jaleshia Brown, "After 11 months of trying to revitalize the Hamilton County Youth Advisory Board... We finally had our first meeting, and it was a huge success. Being able to provide a safe space for foster youth and alumni to voice their experiences to influence and change policies and legislations is absolutely empowering."

She added: "We are not victims of our circumstances. We are survivors; we are fighters; we are strong. We are the authors of our own stories."

Representatives of the OHIO YAB were in touch earlier in the week, to help prepare and to be of support. We are so proud of Jay Bee for not giving up on this... and many thanks to Antonio Lavelle for being there to support. 

Jewel Harris interviewed by Haley Nelson of ABC6 and Fox28


OHIO YAB Youth Ambassador Jewel Harris was recently interviewed by reporter Haley Nelson. The interview aired on ABC6 and Fox28 news on Friday May 5, 2023. 

Jewel shared her insights as a former foster youth who is soon to become a foster parent, and an approved child welfare through the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program:

Jewel Harris is 24 years old now. But at ages three and 13, Harris told ABC6/FOX28 she went into foster care.

"You'll wake up one day, and you'll go to school, and then you'll get out of school, and all your stuff will be packed up full of trash bags...and someone's picking you up like, 'oh, yeah, you're moving'," Harris said.

She moved across Northwest Ohio, becoming, she says, very self-sufficient in the process. "Like 13 going on 30. The caseworkers didn't really have much of an interest into my daily life," she said.

Harris now does advocacy work. She says she is also involved in the training of caseworkers and families, and more.

"I understand that caseworkers are vital," Harris said. "I understand that they're not getting paid, you know as much as the work that they put in...there are not enough caseworkers for all these kiddos. I understand all of these things. However, my only recommendation would be to increase it; the increase the substance within the trainings."

She's sharing her experiences with foster care and caseworkers, as ABC6/FOX28 continues to look into the system, and the role caseworkers play in the lives of kids.

Harris is taking the next step on her own journey: from foster child to potential foster parent.

"How can I help? How can I help fill that gap? And honestly, I've been through a lot, and I've learned a lot and I feel like everything that I've ever went through is so that other people can learn," she said.

Raven Grice, FosterClub Outstanding Young Leader

OHIO YAB Youth Ambassador Raven Grice was recently honored by FosterClub for being an Outstanding Young Leader.

“I feel like I have a purpose to fulfill. I am in the final stretch of college, and I am hoping to make changes in the foster system so that those after me can live their lives without some of the struggles that my fellow peers or I went through.”

Raven has great ambition to help make a difference in other people’s lives. She is a member of the Ohio Youth Advisory Board, the Young Adult Advisory Council, and the Mentee Advisory Council through College Now. She is also the president of three clubs at her university.

Once she graduates, Raven plans to open an art studio space where anyone can receive trauma resources and learn about art as a healing tool. She hopes to partner with other local organizations to provide counseling through her studio, as well. Raven’s determination to make a difference and brighten other people’s lives is what keeps her going.

FosterClub’s Outstanding Young Leaders recognition award and scholarship program recognizes incredible young people whose brilliance and resilience makes a big impact in their communities. These young people embody leadership and service, and make a difference by advocating for their peers in foster care.

Each Outstanding Young Leader Award winner receives a $500 scholarship for education or personal development. Winners are invited to become members of FosterClub's Lived Experience (LEx) Leader network. Our 200+ members have ongoing paid service opportunities to partner with FosterClub to support their peers in foster care and to help improve the system.

Outstanding Young Leaders are celebrated on FosterClub's website and social media channels throughout the month of May, in recognition of National Foster Care Month.