The work of iFoster has always been rooted in helping foster youth get access to what they need to be successful. That may be physical resources or access to hands-on education and training. Another resource foster youth need to be successful is inspiration, opportunity, and role models.
iFoster Futures is a new podcast series and YouTube channel that gives foster youth nationwide direct access to successful role models across a variety of careers to hear for themselves that big dreams can become reality.
The series began as a companion program to iFoster’s award-winning Jobs Program, the nationally recognized, trauma and evidence informed program, specifically for foster youth that offers workforce readiness, job skills training, reducing barriers to employment, and improving pipelines to sustainable private sector employment.
In four years, the iFoster Jobs Program has helped over 500 foster youth earn competitive, permanent employment in living wage jobs. The majority of these youth are working on average 30+ hours a week and attending college or vocational schools.
The iFoster Futures program features a question-and-answer discussion with guests across a variety of careers and industries. Interviewees are selected not only based on the success they have had throughout their professional careers but because they are relatable to foster youth. Guests may not have grown up in foster care, but they have overcome many of the same barriers our youth in care face.
Each 30-minute episode focuses on a different career and industry. A guest's career path is discussed including barriers overcome. Concrete steps are provided to foster youth at the end of each episode to help them strike out on their own path to career success and fulfillment.
The first episodes of iFoster Futures feature guests with various backgrounds and experiences, always demonstrating that it doesn't matter where you come from, it's where you are going.
- Neil Welsh, Founder & CEO of Silverback Strategies discusses how his framing of failure as part of the process has helped him push through every challenge he's faced. The right frame of mind can make all the difference.
- Audrey Steward is a Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager at Google, a U.S. Military Academy graduate, a veteran and an incredible champion for diversity and inclusion. Listeners can hear Audrey discuss life at West Point and how she came to terms with the fact that she's transgender.
- Román Baca, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Exit12 Dance Company shares his experiences as a choreographer, ballet dancer, entrepreneur, and Marine who served in Iraq. Román shares how dance helped him through PTSD and other trauma issues.
- Rochelle Trochtenberg, former California Foster Care Ombudsperson in Sacramento is the first former foster youth to be appointed to serve in this role. Listeners can hear from Rochelle on the myriad of challenges she's faced and how she advocates for today's foster youth.
Episodes will be shared on the iFoster site, the iFoster YouTube channel, as well as Spotify, Google Play and Apple Podcasts.
If you're interested in being a guest on iFoster Futures and or know someone you think would be great at inspiring the next generation, please get in touch with Marc McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a foster youth and have questions you'd like to ask an upcoming guest, please let us know!