Hear from our TAY AmeriCorps Peer Navigators, and why they serve the foster care community through iFoster.
Trinity Utnage: iFoster – Transition Age Youth (TAY) AmeriCorps Peer Navigator
My name is Trinity, and I am a 2022 iFoster TAY AmeriCorps member. I am a former foster youth, serving other foster youth in my home state of WA and across the country. I help them get the necessary resources to become self-sufficient as they age out of foster care.
Becoming an AmeriCorps member has impacted me by teaching me real-life skills I can carry into my education, work, and personal life. The professional development meetings taught me how to be a skilled professional while working from home, which led to my understanding of the importance of self-care and work-life balance to prevent emotional burnout.
iFoster empowered me to learn from Coursera, so I have real-world certificates and skills I can carry into future careers. This experience has inspired me to find and create resources for my peers who are still in foster care and those transitioning out of the system. I worked hard as an AmeriCorps member because I saw that thousands of other foster youth shared similar experiences. And this emboldened me to help my peers help themselves to self-sufficiency.
Shellsea Reynoso: iFoster – Marketing and Digital Communications Coordinator
This piece originally appeared on California.gov, AmeriCorps CA. Read the original posting [https://www.californiavolunteers.ca.gov/americorps-why-i-serve/].
Shellsea served at iFoster as a TAY AmeriCorps Ambassador for 2 years in their iFoster TAY AmeriCorps service program that was Honored as Best New AmeriCorps program nationwide in 2019. As a TAY Americorps member, she connected foster youth to needed resources and workshops as well as mentored peers. Shellsea chose to serve as a TAY AmeriCorps member because of her own experience in the foster care system. She saw that iFoster was dedicated to guiding and mentoring our foster youth and wanted to be a part of helping former and current foster youth reach their full potential. As an Americorps Ambassador, she learned essential job skills that included communication, leadership, problem-solving as well as hard skills like marketing, digital design, and excel which ultimately helped her earn a position as a Marketing and Digital Communications Coordinator with iFoster. “It is important to serve because foster youth need people who will support them and who better to support and understand them than their own peers with lived experience. iFoster makes sure that youth are heard, and they work to express the concerns and needs of foster youth to social workers, caregivers, and other organizations with the goal of helping current and former foster youth towards a successful independent living by providing them with the resources they need.”