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Real Life Annie

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Real Life Annie 2017

Intro

The difficult road you have been traveling has already been hard enough and with every step you felt like a lonely traveler. Questions of doubt such as "Why couldn't I be reunited with my family?" "Why didn't any other family want to take me in?" or "Will I be able to make it on the outside?" continue to interrupt your thoughts. These common questions are at the foundation of foster youth’s experiences, but the most difficult emotions these youth face are oftentimes loneliness without answers. The point of this website is not intended to alter the truth and tell you that the road ahead will be easy. Foster youth have often been deceived, unwanted and dealt misfortunes that none deserve to bear. I do not say this out of sympathy or remorse for foster youth, but because I saw and felt such pain when I was in the foster care system. You will still have hardships along the way and life is not quite a downhill journey from here, but you do not have to find yourself in the same situation from which the social service system removed you nor do you have to accept the identity society pins on you as a "negative statistic." We can succeed in society just like every other person who reaches legal age; we just must take every moment and make it OUR own moment. This website is going to provide insight for those who are looking to become the outlier (data that lies outside the expected range of values for study experiments conducted on foster youth) to this system analysis. The first step is to realize you are not alone and that there are other children and adults who have been in your shoes. These individuals are more than willing to help you achieve your goals. Once we entered the system, we became a family. Just because you aged out of the system does not mean you have lost community with foster youths!

On each discipline page, this column will be dedicated to listing relevant supplemental resources and organizations that specialize in aiding foster youth.

 

Furthermore, references to content on each section will be listed here. Data has been collected from an array of scholarly journals, government surveys, non-profit organizations and newspaper articles, all which focus on the topic of foster youth aging out of the foster care system.

 

Resources

Foster Care United was created by a former foster youth that has not only created an effective organization but is a true example of a success story for foster youth. Check out their projects, guide books, and opportunities they have for foster youth to succeed! https://www.fosterkidsuniteinc.org/

This website is geared to children who are currently in the system, children who soon face aging out, or those who have already transitioned out of the system. This tool can be used by foster parents, social workers, or anyone that has an interest in foster care! To many people, this site seems like another online resource. I beg to differ.  Yes, it is a website that contains resources, however, this site is meant to allow you to explore many more options. Its purpose is not to add to the countless websites that objectively speak on opportunities or policies regarding the aging out process. Instead this website is meant to allow individuals to learn through multidiscipline lectures specifically targeting autonomy that is attained once foster youth reach the age at which the foster system releases youth from care (also referred to as aging out) and how these individuals can develop their independence to combat issues faced during this drastic transition. My goal is that foster youth who use the site learn how to detach from the foster system with as much ease as possible and develop independence and self-sufficiency. In this way, they will be more prepared to face the harsh realities of life once they age out without feeling alone or defenseless as they enter society. In this website, I provide examples of my own life and other foster children’s lives I encountered in the foster care system. I do not want viewers or current foster youth to pursue the same path I have taken. Our journeys are all different and no one way is the right way to success. I want foster care youth to use this website to find a way to achieve their Annie ending. The one thing I can promise you from this website is that there are thousands of children who are in your shoes or have been in them. This website is to show you that you are not alone nor do you have to fight this battle by yourself. I may not be the characters of Hollywood foster care, but I am someone who did make it out and this website exists to show that I am always here for you and so are many other former foster kids!

To make a difference in someone's life, you do not have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care."

 

Mandy Hale