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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Foster Care Writing Contest (Staff Shout-Out): Rebound!
Mr. McBride, Mercy First
Kimani B.

My first day at Mercy First, the kids on my unit went to the gym and started playing basketball. I didn’t know how to play basketball, so I isolated myself and kicked a soccer ball around. At the end of the gym period I felt pretty bored, thinking I didn’t want to play soccer by myself until I left Mercy First. That’s when I made a promise to myself to learn how to play basketball and be good at it.

Mr. McBride saw me trying and pulled me to the empty part of the gym to teach me how to shoot. Even with practice, though, I wasn’t making many baskets. Instead of making me shoot more, he switched the drill and said, “You have a lot of energy and you can jump pretty high. I’m going to teach you how to rebound, and we’ll move on from there.”

I didn’t know what rebounding was, but I went along with it, and he taught me how to properly rebound. Then I tried out for the team. I was energy-packed and nervous at the same time. Mr. McBride told me to stop worrying about if I’m going to make the team and just play ball. That helped me: It was a great tryout and a terrific season.

image by Andrea Clifford

I thank Mr. McBride for believing in me, trying to push me to my limits, keeping everything that he said real, and for making something new in me. From rebounding, to shooting, to laying up the ball, we went through everything until I could do it on my own without someone watching or teaching me.

Thank you, Mr. McBride. I love you.

Tell Us Your Story—Win $100

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. Email your essay to with the subject line Foster Care Writing Contest. Essays will be edited for length and clarity. The writer of the essay we run will receive $100.

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