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The KOFFY Scoop

BRINGING YOU THE NEWS ABOUT KENTUCKY’S

A publication of Murray State University’s Training Resource Center

FOSTER YOUTH

Independent Living Program V O L U M E

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I S S U E

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J U N E / J U L Y

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Future Me: Independent Living Conference

INSIDE THIS ISSUE: YLC Rep-of-the month

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YLC Update

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Future Me Cont’d

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What Teens Need to Know Cont’d

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2013 KOFFY Events

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Kentucky’s Independent Living Conference, Future Me, offered a supportive environment for youth in foster care to focus on preparing for the future. The experience included valuable information to support the transition from out-of-home care to independent living along with many fun activities.

dian, trainer, husband, and father of three.

Conference emcee, George Duvall, helped to keep everything going smoothly. George is a former foster youth, having spent 15 years in foster care. He is also a college graduate, a nationally recognized motivational speaker, come-

Pictured L to R: Stephanie Sikes, Saundria Sims, Erica Fort

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Eastern Mountain 6 KOFFY Event Puzzle Time

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During Friday night’s dinner, Patrick Yewell (Continued on pg 3)

What Teens Need to Know When Close to Aging Out of Foster Care: A Bit of Tough Love and Reality for Aging Out Youth By Carrie Craft

Dear Foster Teenager, What Teens Need to Know Cont’d

To kick off the conference, youth engaged in a resource fair that turned various life skills into interactive experiences. Booths included; the Youth Leadership

Council, FosterClub, Barren River District Health Department, HANDS program, Accelerating Opportunity, Kentucky Office of Employment and Training Youth Services, CASA of South Central Kentucky, Warren County Cooperative Extension Office, Youth Services of Office of Employment and Training, Light of Chance, Self-Esteem Makeovers with Delilah Reen, and Etiquette 101 with Dr. Crystal Coleman. We thank all of our supporters for making this experience so valuable.

If you are reading this letter, you are probably close to aging out of foster care. You may even be excited to have "the system" behind you and out of your life, and who

can blame you? The system probably hasn't always been kind. You have lost a lot, and repeatedly been asked to trust the system that caused you to lose everything you ever cared about.

months, you will be on your own, with no one. Now is the time for you to take control of your future because there are services out there for youth aging out of foster care. The window to get help is open now, but it will close soon. If you

But in a few short (Continued on page 4)


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YLC Rep of the Month-Saundria Sims

Saundria Sims, Youth Leadership Council

We are pleased to introduce Saundria Sims. Saundria joined the council in August 2012 after contemplating the decision for over a year.

Saundria is a graduate from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, but the majority of her high school years were spent at Paducah Tilghman.

Saundria first learned of the YLC from her Independent Living Coordinator and Case Manager from Bellewood Independent Living Program.

She has since earned her diploma in Practical Nursing along with two associates degrees; Associates in Science and Associates Degree in General Occupational and Technical Studies from West Kentucky Community and Technical College.

Saundria joined the YLC to help make changes in the foster care system, while considering the feelings of current and former foster youth.

State University pursuing a Bachelors of Science Degree in Nursing and a Bachelor of Social Work Degree. Saundria said she really enjoyed this year’s teen conference where she was able to connect with youth who admired her for “making it out” and wanted to learn how to start their own path to independence.

The YLC is proud to have Saundria as part of the Saundria is continuing her team. education at Murray

Youth Leadership Council Update

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! June 17th-Ian Rosser June 28th-Erica Fort

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The council held its May monthly meeting via ooVoo which focused on conference planning. YLC members were crucial to keeping the youth perspective at the center of the conference.

positive changes in the foster care system.

her internship as an All-Star with FosterClub.

Council member, Bernard Ball just returned from Austin, Texas where he served as an advisor for the National Resource Center for Youth Development.

Ian Rosser, will be delivering keynote address at the KESCAC conference in July.

Council member, Erica Fort, has been participating in the Statewide Strategic Planning Committee for Children in Placement in Frankfort. Erica reports it has been a valuable learning experience working alongside professionals to make

Casey Vazquez, council member, recently attended the Jenny Wiley KOFFY event where she assisted in registration and participated in the panel presentation.

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Stephanie Sikes, continues

Ian Rosser and Bernard Ball have been working with the planning committee to help shape the Youth Empowerment Summit in September. In August, the council looks forward to meeting with Commissioner James to advocate on behalf of foster youth.


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Future Me Cont’d (Continued from page 1)

delivered a keynote address. Patrick is a foster alumnus, father, grandfather, and serves as Administrator of the Courts in Kentucky, where he oversees court programs for children and families. Attendees received the powerful message you should never give up and you should not let your past dictate your future. Following dinner, youth were able to unwind and have some fun. Activities included; a Halo tournament, hip-hop dance lessons, karaoke, and a dance. There were lots of smiles and laughter. Everyone was wowed by the amazing talents of Kentucky’s youth and a few Independent Living staff members too. Saturday morning began with keynote address by Kentucky Youth Leadership Council President, Ian Rosser. Ian is a foster alumnus and recent graduate from Eastern Kentucky University. Ian enjoys writing, recording, and performing his original music. Conference participants were inspired by Ian’s message and awesome performance of one of his original songs. After the General Session, youth were given their

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choice of workshops to attend. The workshops focused on various skills related to transitioning from foster care to independent living. The smaller group setting provided a more personable environment to explore various topics.

Presenter, Delilah Reen and youth during Resource Fair

FosterClub All-Stars hosted Brand Me. The workshop explored how young people own their own actions, how actions influence the way people see them, and how to control their own “brand” through communication and well representing self. FosterClub All-Stars hosted TTime which focused on the essential assets a youth should have prior to leaving foster care. The participants learned the importance of taking an active role in planning for their transition from care.

hosted Getting Solid in which participants learned about permanence. The youth developed an understanding of how to identify and develop relationships with supportive adults. Western Kentucky University’s Career Services Center hosted Career Conversations. The interactive workshop gave participants the opportunity to start thinking about the next steps in getting the career they want. To close the conference, the Youth Leadership Council hosted a panel discussion. Council members shared personal experiences with foster care, their own coping strategies, and their latest advocacy efforts on behalf of youth in foster care. Youth left the conference empowered to face the future. Friendships were made, information was gained, and seeds for success were planted. Thanks to everyone who helped plan and participated in this year’s conference. We had a great time and look forward to next year!

FosterClub All-Stars

Independent Living Staff

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What Teens Need to Know Cont’d (Continued from page 1)

For scholarship opportunities go to www.voice-for-adoption.org Look under What’s New- College Financial Aid Resource Sheet

choose not to accept help when offered, it will end. It's important for you, youth who are transitioning out of foster care, to realize there is a lot of help and support out there that you should take advantage. But it's also important to realize that it's a partnership. No one will do the work for you. Eileen McCaffrey, Executive Director of Foster Care to Success, states, "I'll go 51%, but you have to come the rest of the way – I will not go the full 100%. You, have to be invested in your own success." You will find this true not only in the Foster Care to Success program, but in any option you choose in life. Many foster youth seem to operate on the false belief that the world will forever feel sorry for the sad tale of a foster child. That compassion will not continue indefinitely, know that the day will come when nobody will care that you were once in foster care. Foster care is not an excuse for not graduating from high school, or going to college, or getting a job. Life is hard work. Create a plan and stick to the plan. Everyone had to transition from a child into an adult, this is not a unique growth

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event, but it is unique that successful in life, especially you as a foster teen are while you are still in foster asked to make that transition care. The following ideas came from Eileen McCaffrey of Foster Care to Success. 1. Attachments are important. Find people you like and can trust, from all ages. Then find at least one person you can wave to or smile at each day. It's a small step in helping you feel attached to someone.

alone. Know that you do not have to go through it alone. There are a number of people who may be willing to be 2. Get involved in something, something you like or that support person in your have a deep interest, like art life. or photography. Get to know the teacher; it's another perSometimes people have to son with which you can create their own family. I make a connection. know it seems like friends your age have all the answers, but there is a lot to be 3. Get a part-time job. This said for the wisdom of those will not only help you financially, but will help build your who have already been self-esteem and help you through the challenges of feel competent. You will also life. Consider who you will add to your support network. build experiences and skills. You will also find more peoConsider: ple you can make a connec past foster parents tion with, not only with em social workers ployees, but with customers.  a counselor Read, Campus Jobs & Ca church members reer Planning Quick Ways to Test Drive a Career  CASA

organizations that exist to 4. Start giving back through help teens, like Foster community service. Choose Care to Success or Job something you really care Corp. about and can get really How Aging Out Foster Youth into – not just something to sign off or check that was Can Help Themselves There are always things you can do to help yourself be

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Kentucky Organization for Foster Youth 2013 KOFFY EVENTS Kentucky Organization for Foster Youth, KOFFY, provides youth in care the opportunity to attend educational and networking experiences to support their transition from care to independent living. Come learn more information about transition planning and connect with peers sharing similar experiences. Youth ages 14-21 are invited to attend. All events are FREE to participants, but advanced registration is required. Registration information will be available soon. August 10th-Northeastern

October 19th-Southern Bluegrass

September 14th-Two Rivers

November 9th-Cumberland

September 21st-Jefferson

November 16th-The Lakes

October 12th-Northern Bluegrass

TBD-Salt River Trail, Eastern Mountain

Keep watching future editions of The KOFFY Scoop for more information. All events are subject to change pending vendor availability and number of registered participants.

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What Teens Need to Know Cont’d The world doesn't have to be a scary place and trancompleted, but something sitioning from foster care you are passionate. Do you into adulthood doesn't love pets or children? How have to happen overnight. about the environment? Take control now and make a plan. Need help? 5. When you think about your Ask your worker or foster future, focus on careers that parent for ideas on how to can become a reality for you. tap into available reThink about practical prosources or contact some of grams that you not only have the resources mentioned an interest in, but can sucabove. ceed – not only in school, but in the work force. Consider Good luck, there are a lot certificate programs, like of people out there who HVAC, plumbing, or an elec- believe in you. trician. Job Corp will have a number of these options and Courtesy of About.com more. (continued from page 4)

KOFFY hosts event in Collaboration with Project MATCH On June 6th, the Independent Living Program collaborated with Eastern Mountain Regional Project MATCH to provide teens, foster parents and PCC staff in the region a day of training and activities centered on Independent Living Skills and local area resources. There were 144 participants at the event including foster teens, foster parents, group facilities, cabinet employees and the Eastern Mountain SRA.

means to utilize Transitional Living Supports once a youth turns 18. Ms. Pack also covered what is available to youth that choose not to extend their commitment to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, such as Educational Training Vouchers and six months of housing assistance.

During lunch, Wendy Pack, Eastern Mountain Independent Living Coordinator, presented on what it

Special thanks to Papa Johns’s Pizza of Prestonsburg for their generous donation.

The state park activities coordinator offered participants two choices during the afternoon. One was a snake presentation where attendees learned about Project MATCH members offered a reality store native Kentucky snakes. The other activity offered event that morning to teach budgeting skills and get was archery, assistants instructed the youth on how youth to begin thinking about their future career to shoot and how to be safe when shooting the goals. After this activity, a panel discussion occurred bow, after which the youth were allowed to shoot that included current and former foster youth as at targets and practice what they had learned. well as a private Driver’s Education Program, Community Action’s Big Sandy Youth Program, Job Corp, Adult Protective Services, Family Support Specialist, Cabinet Billing Specialist, NECCO Independent Living, and information about the SNAP (Special Needs Adoption Program).

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Murray State University CEAO Training Resource Center Independent Living Program

The Training Resource Center, housed in the Center for Continu-

240 Wells Hall

ing Education and Academic Outreach, provides the following

Murray, KY 42071

services for teens under the Independent Living Program: Youth Leadership Council, Independent Living Conferences, and Ken-

Phone: 1-877-994-9970

tucky Organization for Foster Youth Regional Events.

Fax: 270-809-3569 E-mail: lcouch1@murraystate.edu or tpitman@murraystate.edu

If you have any questions or would like to contribute to The KOFFY Scoop, please contact Lauren Couch or Tiffany

Website: www.koffyonline.net

Pitman, Independent Living Program Coordinators.

Puzzle Time MAD GABS They are a group of words, that at first glance and first saying don't make sense... but say them SLOWLY and LISTEN to what you hear to figure out what the phrase is. Example: Common Firm Their Rain = Come In From The Rain

WUZZLE What's a wuzzle you ask? A wuzzle is a saying/phrase that is made up of a display of words, in an interesting way. The object is to try to figure out the well-known saying, person, place, or thing that each wuzzle is meant to represent.

1. Ape Hick Cheer Rail Bum 2. Awe Lint Thief Ham Hilly 3. Arrest Hairy Ahh 4. Arrow Lurk Holster 5. As Thicker Courtesy of Wuzzles and Puzzles.com

Courtesy of Wuzzles and Puzzles.com

ANSWERS: Mad Gab 1. A Picture Album 2. All in the Family 3. A Rest Area 4. A Roller Coaster 5. As the Crow Flies

Wuzzle1. Loss for Words 2. No Fun Without U 3. Side Order 4. Skating on Thin Ice 5. An Inside Job 6. Sign on the Dotted Line

June july 2013 koffy scoop  
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