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): Tough Love and Second Chances
Ms. Yolanda, MercyFirst
Danielle C.
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On my first day at the MercyFirst residential facility, I went to a community meeting. Someone asked me, “How do you feel?”

I said, “Fine.”

Ms. Yolanda said, “‘Fine’ is not a feeling.”

I automatically disliked her. Later that night, as I was going to sleep, she came into my room. She told me I was moving to a different unit, and I was happy because I thought I was getting away from her.

But it turned out she was on my new unit! I was so mad.

After a few days, I walked out of the program with another resident. Instead of punishing me, Ms. Yolanda gave me the chance to stop, think about what I was doing, talk to her, and go back to the unit. I wasn’t used to getting chances or opportunities, and I was grateful.

Soon after that, I began opening up to Ms. Yolanda, and she gave me good advice. She taught me how not to say or do everything I think. She cheered me up when I was down. She taught me that I don’t need friends who get me in trouble.

It’s crazy to think that I could get so close to someone I didn’t like at first. But now I look up to Ms. Yolanda. She is someone who really cares.

Being in placement is hard, and staff members who really care and help you and teach you are so valuable. Ms. Yolanda makes life in care more bearable. You don’t run into people like her often, and I am thankful to her.


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 representmail@youthcomm.org 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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(FCYU-2019-04-02)

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