Becoming Bigger Than What I am: “FYA Leaders United” Rebrands Itself
FYALU member on the mic!
On April 27, this year’s crop of FYA youth council members participated in their third conference call in 2016. As some of our network’s most promising youth leaders, members commit to facilitating a total of 16 conference calls in 2016. Currently, 19 members represent 16 partners across the country. One in four of the youth is returning from 2015 and agreed to act as group mentors. As one of their first official acts as a leadership body, the council made the bold choice of rebranding themselves from “Youth Leaders Council” to “FYA Leaders United” (“FYALU”). At the subsequent meeting, participants shared their hopes for FYALU with each other. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the things that they said:
“I just want to take out knowledge and be something bigger than what I am by being part of something bigger than what I am. I want to make a difference for other generations and not ask for anything in return, and be a positive peer for others, so they don’t have to live how we’ve lived.” ~TJ Perreira, Hawaii Foster Youth Coalition
“I’m putting in my heart and soul, and what I’m going to get out of it is seeing another group of youth with as much passion for fixing this system that deteriorated over the years for me.” ~Jake Carmi, Iowa AMP
“I’m putting in my input and my perspective of what I’ve gone through, and I’m taking out other perspectives.” ~Monique Brown
FYALU members in light blues with their peers at L4C 2015
One thing any listener of the conference call would notice is that these are evolved young people with an ambition to repave the path they walked. Executive Director Matt Rosen told FYALU, “This group gives me valuable insights into what is going on in our community. More than that, I get inspired and feel connected.”
During the meeting, FYALU members chose to pursue a second round of last year’s poll. In 2015, more than 600 stakeholders responded to our foster care issues survey, and we received considerable attention from the national foster care community regarding the top mandate that came from our membership: to help foster youth heal from trauma.
“It’s exciting that they have the leadership of the organization, are focused on advocacy, and that they love doing it,” said FYA trainer Jayette Hightower.