Fostering Success Michigan                    Student Spotlight                    January 2016
Student Spotlight 
Getting to Know... 
Candice S.!

Each month, Fostering Success Michigan  features  a Student Spotlight that celebrates the  accomplishments and achievements of students  with experience in foster care.

Do you know a student to spotlight?
Meet Candice S.!
Tell us a little bit about yourself! What keeps you busy? 

CS:  I am currently working two jobs, one at Wendy's and I have been working there for two years and I just started working at the Secretary of State. I will also be going back to school as soon as I get a new vehicle. I will be going back to Delta College trying to get my degree in Social Work. In my free time I like playing video games and hanging out with family and friends, as well as playing sports.

FSM:  We heard you were recently voted in as President of the Bay County MYOI Youth Board! Tell us about it! 

CS:  I love being the President of the Board. It is hard trying to juggle everything but it is worth it. I love being a leader and I am hoping to mentor these youth and help them realize their full potential.

A few things that I plan on implementing as the President of the Youth Board are:
  • a self-defense class
  • a child and education asset training to help those young adults with children learn about the benefits our community has that can help them.
  • a computer training course where everyone can learn simple computer techniques such as simple keyboarding or how to use Microsoft Word, Office and Excel and so on and so forth. 
I am hoping to come up with some different fundraising ideas to help raise funds for the Youth Board so we are able to go out and do more asset training.  I am also hoping to attend Delta College's job fair so that way it helps our youth look at all the different job opportunities that are available to them and what they need to do in order to get that far.

Becoming the President of this Youth Board has been a dream of mine for a long time and I do not take it lightly. To me, it is not just a thing. It is a job, it is a way for me to help youth succeed, it is a way for me to mentor youth and help some accomplish great things. Some of them look at MYOI as a support; some of them look at it for money. I look at it as my family, my learning tool. It has taught me so much and it has helped me grow in ways I did not think were possible. I do not know where I would be if I was not a part of this. I am so grateful for this Youth Board and will do my best as President to help others succeed.

FSM: Do you have a specific area of passion or advocacy? 

CS:  Working with foster youth is probably my biggest passion. 

FSM:  If you had any advice to give to professionals who work with young people who have experienced foster care, what would it be? 

CS:  I would probably have to say that you should not give up on them, they are struggling and they will most likely be angry and sad. They have had enough people give up on them and they do not need any more people to make them feel like they will fail.  

FSM:  What would you tell a youth who was thinking about going to college? 

CS:   I would say that college is very important. School is not necessarily going to be easy but if you keep working hard and trying your best and asking for help when it is needed, that is the important part. In this economy it is hard to get a job without some sort of college education.

What exactly is the Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative ?
Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative  (MYOI) goal is to ensure that young  people in foster care have successful outcomes in housing, education, employment, community engagement and health. It brings together  community members, public and private agencies, and resources that are critical to enhancing the success of young adults who are transitioning or have transitioned from the foster care system.

Each MYOI site provides:
  • Youth Boards: 
    • Youth boards serve as the leadership and advocacy arm of MYOI. Youth are trained in leadership, media and communication skills, including how to strategically share their story and present on panels.
  • Community Partner Boards: 
    • A community partner board is a group of businesses, public and private agencies, and community representatives that have an interest in assisting youth who are transitioning out of foster care. Community Partner Board members provide support, discounts to services and advocacy for older youth in care.
  • Training: 
    • Training opportunities provided to youth encompass asset purchases, life skills, and preparation for adulthood including, housing, employment, education, health and community engagement.
  • Matches:
    • Each youth has an Individual Development Account (IDA). Youth are required to save money in their IDA each month. MYOI matches the IDA funds dollar to dollar up to $1000 per year for a youth to purchase an asset.
  • Stipends:
    • Youth earn stipend payments for participation in events and meetings. The stipends assist youth to save money in their IDAs. Earning stipends is a tangible way to recognize the time and effort the youth contributes to the program.

For more information about MYOI, please click here
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