foster youth

Former foster youth share stories of resiliency

Jamie Lee Evans, director of the Foster Youth Museum, introduces the speakers at the foster youth panel held on Sunday at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. (Lucjan Szewczyk -- Santa Cruz Sentinel) 

Jamie Lee Evans, director of the Foster Youth Museum, introduces the speakers at the foster youth panel held on Sunday at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. (Lucjan Szewczyk -- Santa Cruz Sentinel) 

SANTA CRUZ >> The difference between walking out of foster care empowered and walking out having sustained lifelong injuries could be as simple as the homes in which you were placed. But the uniting factor that brought several former foster children to speak out about their experiences on Sunday was resiliency.

During the Fostering Resilience event held at the Museum of Art and History, panelists from California Youth Connection opened up to discuss how they found their way.

The panels and accompanying art activism workshop and youth-led performances tie into the larger theme of the foster youth experience explored by the museum’s “Lost Childhoods” exhibit on life inside the California foster care system. For at least one of the panelists, Summer Rae Worsham, 21, just being able to come and see the exhibit was something to cross off her bucket list.

“There is a lot of stigma around foster youth — they are bad, they are not going to amount to much — all these statistics packed against us,” Worsham said. “I challenge people to do the research, experience foster kids and learn what they have been through.”

It is exactly this message that some of the attendees took to heart and walked away with.

More here.

What’s #FosterCare Like? An #artexhibit shows us through the eyes of youth that lived it

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A San Francisco Bay Area museum is taking an unusual tack with an exhibition about foster youth in California. The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History invited a team of former foster youth and advocates to help put the show together.

Five months before the show Lost Childhoods went up, around a hundred former foster youth and advocates began meeting at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History to talk about what the exhibition would look like.

Community engagement director Stacey Garcia explains, “We are not experts in what foster youth have gone through, what they want to share. We know how to make an exhibition, but we don’t know how to tell their story. They do.”

Jess Prudent works as an outreach assistant with Court Appointed Special Advocates of Santa Cruz County, which supports children in foster care.

Prudent was skeptical at first that the museum wanted anything more than superficial advice from the Creative Community Committee (C3), but was soon won over by the hands-on curatorial process.