- January-February 2016
- Vol. 16, No. 10
An Online Space for Youth in Foster Care
Today's children and youth are growing up immersed in a world of information at their fingertips. As a generation, they are avid consumers and fluent users of ever-evolving technologies such as social media and smart gadgets. Given young people's increased access to, enthusiasm for, and general facility with technology, child welfare professionals and other supportive adults can leverage technology as an effective tool for reaching vulnerable children and youth. One organization in particular has made it its mission to create an online space offering guidance to youth in foster care.
Formed as a commitment to action through the Clinton Global Initiative University, Think of Us is a nonprofit organization creating a supportive platform for self-development to help youth in foster care navigate important decisions and situations. The organization is working to engage youth and support their positive development through multimedia approaches such as online coaching, online social connections, and interactive videos. The videos, featuring youth in and formerly in foster care as well as experts with knowledge about foster care, offer support and suggestions to help youth navigate issues such as growing their resilience, dealing with stigmas and feelings of emptiness, and building connections. The videos also include life stories shared by youth formerly in care as well as interactive modules to help youth better understand the effects of trauma they may have faced and learn positive strategies for moving forward in life. The current portfolio of interactive videos includes the following titles:
- Getting Through Common Experiences in Foster Care
- Understanding Youth and Their Stories
- B-POS Practices of Success for Youth
- Recognizing Trauma Prototype
The Think of Us Storyboard Project encourages youth to share their stories through written formats and visual media, such as video. The program also includes workshops and coaching to show youth how to effectively tell their stories, as well as a school-to-work curriculum that helps youth develop and strengthen their interview skills. Think of Us also seeks to help other organizations and government entities incorporate its tools as part of their services.
To read a blog post on the White House's website by Sixto Cancel, a college student founder of Think of Us who was honored as a Champion of Change for Foster Care, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/05/20/let-s-tap-technology-fill-gaps-foster-care.
Learn more on the Think of Us website at http://www.thinkof-us.org/.