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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Congratulations Winners! #123
Who Was Your Hero When You Were Little?
Writing Contest Winners

1st Prize $150 winner + $200 “wish certificate” from One Simple Wish
A Model for My Future

By the time I was 10, my mom, sister, and I had moved 11 times. The apartments we ended up in were often filthy, but within a few days everything was immaculate. I admired that my mom always gave my sister and me a clean, safe environment.

I also view my mother as a hero because she worked three different bartending jobs at a time to keep a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food on the table. She worked so much to make ends meet and still got me and my sister what we wanted. Once, my mom wore the same two sets of clothes to save up money to get us a Nintendo Wii.

Another quality I admired in my mother was that she never gave up hope in me. By the time I entered middle school I barely did any work in school or at home. This enraged my mother, but even though she yelled at me sometimes, she made it clear that she wanted me to get a better job than the types she ended up with.

My mother is a different gender than me, but you don’t have to be a man or a woman to admire the positive traits in a person. You have to be open enough to let people’s positive actions rub off on you, and create a model of what you want to be seen as in the future. I love my mother to no end, and she will always be my hero.

Alexander James H., 15
Syosset, NY

2nd Prize $100 winner + $100 “wish certificate” from One Simple Wish
All Her Superhero Might

My hero is my mom. She was always there to support me in many ways while I was in foster care. She tried hard to get herself together and get me and my brother back with her. She took her drug and alcohol classes, she did her parenting classes. My mom fought with all her superhero might to get us back into her life.

My mom stayed in a recovery home for a year and never gave up. That inspired me to never give up and to work toward what I want. My hero is now a Parent Partner for the Department of Children and Family Services in LA County. She inspired me to be an achiever and to be involved in the community as much as I can.

Esperanza De Luna, 14
Pomona, CA

3rd Prize $50 winner + $50 “wish certificate” from One Simple Wish
Outgoing, Helpful, and Law-Abiding

When I was younger, my main hero was my grandfather. I looked up to him because he never went to jail and he was the only person I could go to for help. He was very outgoing and helpful.

When I went into foster care, I was scared that I would never see my family or my grandfather again. I promised my grandfather that I would try my hardest to behave so I could get visits with my family or even go back home, and he encouraged me. Then in 2014, my grandfather died, and I could not leave my residential treatment center (RTC) to go to his funeral. For a few months I began to misbehave, then I remembered what my grandfather told me so I started to behave more. My grandfather will always be my hero.

Shakeem Anthony S., 15
Syosset, NY

Honorable Mentions: Nicholaus Gerber, Samantha Hallinan, Jose O., Skakeem S., Giselle Santiago.

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