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Baltimore Native, Shalita O’Neale, Hosting the 4th Annual Alumni Powerhouse Networking Conference Benefiting Transitioning Foster Youth & Alumni BALTIMORE, MD— In Baltimore city and county over 700 foster care youth will experience homelessness within two years of leaving care, with only 65% graduating high school by age 17, and disproportionate numbers affecting the African-American community; according to the trends of the 7,400 that have aged out or exited care in the last four years. This brings the The Alumni Powerhouse Networking Conference to Baltimore that will assist transitioning youth and foster care alumni to decrease the number of under educated and homeless alumni, as well as ignite their entrepreneurial spark to network and build their start-ups/businesses. The conference will be taking place June 9-10 at Johns Hopkins Medicine with free admission for current and transitioning youth and $50.00 tickets for Foster Care Alumni. This is the fourth annual event produced by the FCN Foundation led by Founder and CEO Shalita O’Neale. O’Neale spent 19 years in the system through kinship care, a foster home, and group home placements. Despite her success, she was initially unprepared to handle the strife of adulthood. Shalita knew she was not the only person to come through the foster system and be thrust into the world unprepared, and out of that conflict the Fostering Change Network, FCN Foundation and it’s program the Alumni Powerhouse Networking Conference (APNC) was created. O’Neale launched the first conference in Lanham, Maryland in 2014, with subsequent conferences in California (2015) and New York (2016), to address the local and national issue of destabilization after foster care. Now in its fourth year, the APNC is in Baltimore to benefit the city, Baltimore county Alumni populations, and Alumni traveling to grow their endeavors. Although the foster care system is charged with providing safe and stable placements for children removed from their biological families until the age of 21, often these youth return to the same under-resourced communities they were removed from. Due to that circumstance they have extremely limited opportunities and are unable to take care of themselves. On a national level an estimated 400k transition out of care every year and 2k (est.) transition out in Maryland. Locally and nationally the numbers are daunting for those who are unable to stabilize themselves in education, financially, or acquiring homes. Even with organizations created to help youth while still in Foster Care, there is not a niche organization that focuses on former foster youth created by Foster Alumni in the state of Maryland. The APNC was created to nurture the bubbling entrepreneur spirit of the Baltimore Alumni and assist transitioning youth who need support and want to supersede the statistics post-care. Through workshops, panels, exhibitors, and vendors transitioning youth and Alumni will be able to network and learn business aspects such as: Branding, Funding, Mentoring, Networking, Recruiting, and Wealth Building and more.


The speakers and presenters include a host of professionals that have Foster Care histories or connections such as: Angelica Nwandu (The Shade Room), Rob Scheer (Comfort Cases), Delora Sanchez (Cornerstone), Steve Biondolillio (Biondolillo & Associates Inc.), Sang-Won (Representative of the International Foster Care Alliance), MaryBeth Harland (Spark Vision) and many more.

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Additionally, The FCN Foundation is launching the Global Ambassadors Program which is a 12-month fellowship purposed to help Alumni of the foster care system become efficient leaders in business, education, and child welfare sectors in the United States and internationally. The conference will host a Global Ambassadors Panel on June 10th that will discuss ideas of how to change child welfare around the world. The FCN Foundation was born out of the work of the Fostering Change Network, LLC with a mission of providing alumni of the foster care system resources that will support their personal and professional development within child welfare and social enterprise fields. The organization provides three programs: The Alumni Powerhouse Networking Conference, Global Ambassadors Program, and Six Degrees of Foster Care that will be releasing the documentary A Part of the Family later this year. All programs have the core purpose of dispelling the negative stigma of Foster Care youth and Alumni.

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Contact: C.B. Fletcher FCN Foundation Public Relations cbfletcherwrites@gmail.com Contact for photos, videos, bios, and information for Shalita O’Neale, APNC Speakers, and Sponsors. Fostering Change Network Foundation www.fcnfoundation.org The FCN Foundation is a Foster Care Alumni led Network and through the foundation the Global Ambassadors Program, Six Degrees of Foster Care, and the Alumni Powerhouse Networking Conferences, Alumni are prepared to be efficient and credible leaders within child welfare and other professional fields through an international lens.

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APNC 2019 Press Release  

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