The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Staff Shout-Out
Cool Guy, Brother, Father Figure
Latik W.

For as long as I can remember, I have felt I could never trust anyone. My mom abused drugs and she abused me. I was sent to a group home, where I got picked on for almost every aspect of my appearance: “too tall,” “ugly,” “scar face,” “rocket head.” If it applied to me I was called it. Next, I was placed in a foster home where I finally had a mother figure in my life. It was fine for a time, but I became troubled, depressed, angry at my life, and aggressive. This caused me to move from foster home to foster home. Soon I was put in Mercy First RTC (residential treatment center), and as quickly as I got there I wanted to leave, for the same reasons that haunted me my whole life.

One day at dinnertime in the café, a Crisis Support Team staff, Mr. Seth, was telling jokes. For the first time I felt a small bit of joy. I figured I should talk to Mr. Seth about my problems, since he was a cool guy figure. Over the next 14 months, I frequently spoke to Mr. Seth. He was like a big brother or a father, teaching me essential skills like proper speech, maturity, self-confidence, right from wrong, male fashion, and manhood.

Later on I was discharged and I missed Mr. Seth. Recently I came back to Mercy First, not for any punishment, but because I did not have any other place to go. Mr. Seth was gone. At first, I did not have a positive attitude, but I chose to stay and earn my high school diploma, a driver’s permit, and other necessities to start adulthood.

I never got to tell Mr. Seth thank you. I want to thank him now for all the things he did for me. Mr. Seth, if not for you, I would be another statistic. You did something for me that my mom and dad were not here to do. I commend you and give you a shout-out.

This column is written by our readers in care. Tell us about a staff who believed in you, listened to you, advocated for you, gave you great advice, who in any way made your life better. E-mail your essay to with the subject line Staff Shout-Out. Essays will be edited for length and clarity. The writer of the essay we run will receive $50.

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