01 Sep FCAA Nevada Recognized for Advocacy Work
I am a member of the Nevada chapter of the Foster Care Alumni of America because I wish something like this organization existed while I was growing up in foster care. To have ability to give feedback to child welfare professionals and for them to incorporate your opinions, thoughts, and ideas into their programs and initiatives is remarkable.
The Clark County Department of Family Services executive leadership selected our chapter to be the recipient of the 2015 National Foster Care Awareness Month proclamation. From the County Commission’s perspective, the Nevada chapter was honored because of our advocacy efforts during the past two years within the areas of outreach, legislation, and education. To receive a proclamation from the County Commission, especially during Foster Care Awareness Month, was both amazing and encouraging.
When you are a member of FCAA, you’re not working to reform foster care in your state to be acknowledged; you’re doing it because you care. It’s a strange experience to receive any award, whether it is a scholarship, an award based upon merit, or a proclamation. It’s sort of unexpected, if you think about it. To be driven by the want to make change, and to do it without any thought of being recognized for your efforts, is a relatively normal thing when you’ve grown up in foster care and all you want to do is give back and make it better for the next generation. Our chapter is still in its infancy stages and our focus has been on working with our peers to build infrastructure and establish our chapter, so when we were informed that our chapter would be recognized for its efforts, it was a shock.
The [proclamation] ceremony itself was quite memorable. As an introvert, I dislike public speaking with a passion. To give a speech about the importance of advocacy in front of child welfare professionals in my state, as well as community partners, was both empowering and frightening, for the simple fact of having to articulate how being an advocate is so important, and how advocacy itself gives you a feeling like your “hair is on fire.” Being part of an alumni board has allowed me to learn more about how intricate the foster care system is and how much power I have to help as an alumnus of foster care.
Written by Ollie Hernandez, Nevada Chapter
Foster Carea Alumni of America