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
Motherly Sensors
Chris Lee

I was put in a group home when I was 16 because I was labeled mentally unstable. When I first got there, I was worried because I did not know how I would be treated.

The first staff I met was Ms. Wilson. She greeted me at the door and then went over the house rules and safety tips. Then she told me, “Everything will be alright.” It was what I needed to hear. I took her words and carry them to this day.

I had been living there two weeks when we got a new girl at the group home. I was scared of her. She was gay like me, so I thought we should be friends, but she cursed me out and threw things at me. Then one night, she touched me inappropriately. I pushed her away, and Ms. Wilson, who can always sense when something is wrong, walked in the room. She told the rest of the staff about it, and I never saw that girl again.

A caseworker had told Ms. Wilson I liked to write, and she did too. She bought me a notebook, and when I was upset, she would say, “You want to write?” We would write poetry together and we laughed and even cried together. She could relate to some of the situations in my life; she grew up with a single mom who had to take care of seven daughters.

Once I joined a group of kids who smoked cigarettes and I tried to smoke, too. I knew it was wrong but I just wanted some friends. Ms. Wilson did not say anything, but she gave me an evil eye. That was all it took. It was making me sick anyway, so I stopped.

Ms. Wilson takes walks with me and talks to me as if I were her son. I am transgendered, and she had not one problem with calling me “Chris” and “he.” Ms. Wilson and I gave each other nicknames: I call her Bighead Boo and she calls me Boo.

Ms. Wilson is like the mother I wish I had. She plays with me but puts her foot down when I get out of line. She stays up with me when I have nightmares about my past. She can tell if I am down even if I am smiling. It’s like she has motherly sensors about me. Thank you, Ms. Wilson. You will always be in my heart and mind.

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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