Surprising Foster Care Role Model


A few years ago I was delivering a workshop to a large group of young ladies in high school.  The topic was “Empowering Ladies In the 21st Century”.  I asked the group who some of their female role models were and a very spirited young lady answered Keyshia Cole.  At that time, Keyshia Cole‘s reality TV show on BET was very popular.  I had watched a few episodes of the show with my daughter and I felt that BET was spending too much time showing the dysfunction of Keyshia’s relationships with her mother and sister.  I asked the student what she admired about Keyshia Cole and her response was that she and Keyshia Cole had been through a lot of tough things including foster care but they were both still pressing on.  Awesome answer which then allowed us to discuss strength, forgiveness, support systems, and self-advocacy.   


When I think back on this presentation I am reminded of what the strengths-based approach really means.  It drives home the concept of meeting teens where they are.  None of us are perfect and this young lady found courage and comfort in a young woman others had written off.  We cannot afford to write off any teenagers and young adults because another young person may find strength in their story.    


You can help The Teen Toolbox showcases the talent and determination in young people and prove that when given support and opportunity, youth can change the world.  In the past, our SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month feature recognized teens in 8th through 12th grades who could serve as positive role models in various ways.  Beginning on October 25, 2012, SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month will relaunch with a focus solely on foster youth age 14-21.  Please nominate a young person in the foster care system that, despite challenges, is leading a life of promise and making a positive impact in his or her community.  Nominations will be accepted on a continuous basis.  Thank you.



You might also be interested in this blog: Someone Like Me 


Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer

The Teen Toolbox provides youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic enrichment opportunities to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs.

Comments 2

  • What a great perspective Nicki. You need to find a way to get this blog post out to all the DCF offices across the country.

    Maybe also get it to Casey Family Programs and ask if they can help you spread the word. And what about the National Foster Youth Club, another great resource (maybe you already thought of this).

    I’ll send it out to some social workers friends in DCFS here in L.A.

    Good luck with this.

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