DCF Youth Summit on July 19 – One Young Adult’s Experience

By Juliette

On Thursday, July 19, I attended the Department of Children and Families’ Youth Summit in Marlborough. It was an amazing full-day event. The event was for young adults like me who “age out” of the DCF system at the age of 18. There were so many young adults and teenagers there. I heard some amazing talents: there was even a young adult playing the guitar as people were come in to be seated. It was nice. There were a lot of interesting classes for us to choose from. Some classes were educational, some were just fun and some were career-oriented.

My favorite part was listening to a rap by a young man who told us his life story. He came from nothing. When he was in school he had a lot of trouble with his grades and attitude. No one thought he would graduate. One of his teachers even told him he was nothing. Hearing that really hurt him, but he decided he was going to prove them wrong. So what he did was he got his grades up and changed his attitude. He did prove them wrong – he was able to graduate and he is successful today.  At the Youth summit he rapped about how successful and accomplished he has become. He said anybody could do this – don’t let people put you down. This was a very positive message.

DCF Commissioner Angelo McClain was there too. He talked about children and family and how he became commissioner. He said that he went for the interview but decide he wasn’t interested in it, even though they really wanted him. He said no but they kept calling and calling for 10 day straight. Eventually he gave them a chance and moved from New Jersey to Massachusetts and has been happy ever since. It was great hearing about his personal story. He’s very nice and easy to talk to.

Governor Deval Patrick was there. It was nice that he came to the Youth Summit to speak to young people. He was very friendly and he talked about change for youth and how to make things better so youth don’t have to suffer.

I am very grateful to those who understand what it’s like for young adults aging out of foster care and took the time and effort to put this Youth Summit together. Special thanks to BNY/Mellon for sponsoring. It was a wonderful experience for all of us!


Tempo’s Yolanda Ortiz Featured in Root Cause Newsletter

Yolanda Ortiz, program director for Wayside’s Tempo Young Adult Resource Center, is featured in Root Cause’s  latest e-newsletter “Gaining a Deeper Understanding: An Initiative for Exploring Social Issues.” This past December, Tempo was named a 2012 Social Innovator through Root Cause’s Social Innovation Forum, a prestigious honor shared by just five other nonprofit organizations.

In her blog post, Yolanda describes what it was like to become part of the Social Innovation Forum and how this experience has made her a better leader. As she writes:

 I often think back to that day in January when I delivered that 3-minute introduction to a group of about a dozen peers. I was so nervous, I mumbled and I turned red! Just a few short months later I was able to stand in front of 300 potential investors and deliver a crisp, professional pitch. I realize that I am now even more of an asset to Tempo than I was before SIF. I can see how I can help grow this incredible program and am so grateful to SIF for helping get us here.