Sunday, May 07, 2017

Definition of Stewardship

It is a great big beautiful thing to create something new, but the next step is to maintain it, year after year - because the need doesn't change based on current popularity.

Sometimes, the maintaining part bumps up against behind-the-scenes complications and all kinds of crazy politics. But we can, and will, and MUST overcome them.

And that's the definition of a weird word called "stewardship."  To be a "steward" means: the careful and responsible management of what has been entrusted to you.

We need a better word for this. Steward sounds sort of like sewage. It's not a sexy word at all.

Let's talk about other words that might better express the heart behind this effort:

- commitment
- consistency
- conscientiousness
- vision
- purpose
- responsibility

We need to talk about what it means to be in this for the long-haul.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Underpromise and Overdeliver

My husband has a saying: "Underpromise and overdeliver" -- and I can't tell you how valuable that principle is when it comes to foster care advocacy.

Our young people have experienced enough broken promises in their lives

We need to be the kind of people who KEEP our promises, and who are very careful to gauge our commitments before saying yes, so that we can truly live up to what we commit to do ❤️❤️❤️

And, if a challenge comes up that might limit our availability, our responsibility is to let others know as soon as possible.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Foster care is a bipartisan issue

I am heart-happy about Ohio's fifth annual Three Days on the Hill. ❤️❤️❤️

One thing really amazed and encouraged me during this year's trip to DC:

I had been anticipating and worrying that the growing political divide in our country might negatively impact our legislative visits

But there was NO difference at all between our visits with Republican vs. Democratic offices:

- They both saw foster care as a bipartisan issue.
- They both understood that our young peope who "age out" of foster care just want to build positive and productive futures
- They both totally *got* that helping a young person succeed in college/workforce meant a future taxpayer later on

When we talked about youth aging out of foster care without a savings account to afford housing... former foster youth needing to pay rent a year in advance due to having no co-signer... former foster youth being asked to pay hundreds of dollars to stay in a dorm (their only home!!) during campus breaks...

This was eye-opening to ALL offices. And they cared and were receptive to our proactive suggestions of solutions.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I agree with these recent quotes from Dan Rather:
"Now is a time when none of us can afford to remain seated or silent. We must all stand up to be counted. History will demand to know which side were you on."
He references the Declaration of Independence: 

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
And then he adds:

"These truths may be self-evident but they are not self-replicating. Each generation has to renew these vows... the direction of our ship of state has not always been one of progress. We interned Japanese Americans, Red Baited during the McCarthy era, and more. I feel the rip tide of regression once again swelling under my feet. But I intend to remain standing."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Top Priority for 2017

Improving long-term outcomes for young people in and from foster care <3 span="">
Let's start from there - settle for nothing less - and then move backwards.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Creating learning experiences for foster youth

Do you remember being a teen, and those specific experiences that, at the time, seemed like the most important moment in the world?

This very interesting research study demonstrates that: 

1.) Teens are better at learning from "reinforcement learning" than adults are

2.) Teens engage both the hippocampus (memory) and striatum (decision-making) regions of their brains at the same time, while adults tend to alternate between using one or the other

3.) Therefore, the experiences that teens have are rich with opportunities to create memories and educate them on making future decisions

The researchers’ conclusion was that the adolescent period of risk-taking and impulsive decision-making may be especially beneficial because it improves our reinforcement learning.  In simplest terms, reinforcement learning is making a guess, being told whether you’re right or wrong, and using that information to make a better guess next time.

As we work to ‘make memories’ for foster youth, this is a great reminder that teens are particularly sensitive to and responsive to the experience of the moment. 

In our interactions with teens, we have the opportunity to provide learning opportunities that can shape their understanding of the world. 

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Supporting our brothers and sisters of the foster care system

Sometimes our siblings of the foster care system try to put on a brave face and not show the world that they are struggling - right up until the moment that all the dominos fall down. (this is something that I did after aging out)

When that happens, we need to figure out the best way to help them. Not just for the moment, but building a way to succeed in the future:

1.) Are they connected with statewide and local resources that could help them in this situation?

2.) Have they reached out to local and statewide resources and asked for help?

3.) Do they have a local support network - and if so, are there ways that we could advise that support network to do specific things to help them?

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