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
I can trust her with anything
Robert Velasquez

Back in 2012 I was a troubled kid who suffered from depression. I had been abused and then disowned by my father when I was 12. I went to live in a Diagnostic Residential Center (DRC) for a year, then to live with my grandmother. While I was in the DRC, I was sent to a therapist named Amy Vigliotti.

I was annoyed that I had to go, but when I met her, we clicked. She has a warm smile, a sincere voice, and a caring manner: I could tell she was kind. I felt welcomed. She introduced herself and told me she wanted to help get me out of the DRC. She also explained that her office was a safe place to confide and to release any emotions I needed to express.

Two years later, I still see her once a week to talk to her about my past, my present, and my future. She has helped me slowly figure out my past and has showed me that I can trust her with anything. She is the first person I ever told about my father’s abuse. She kind of knew already, but thought it would be good for me to explain it myself.

Amy has hooked me up with many opportunities. She enrolled me in her teen mentoring group to talk with other teens about my experiences. She also encourages my writing, and nominated me for an essay contest, which I won and got $1,000. That led to me writing for Represent.

She makes it clear that her main priority is me. I feel loved and cared for her when I step into her office to talk about the things I don’t have the courage to tell most adults. She treats me with respect and makes no judgments, but she will tell me when I’m wrong. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything and keeps it real with me.

I want to thank Amy for the huge role she has played in my life. She helped me get over my depression and helped me evolve from a gloomy kid who always expected the worst to a positive, confident young man. She has helped me reach some of my goals of overcoming my past and learning how to deal with not having my parents.

This column is written by our young readers. 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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