02.20.2019

Brianna Finds Power in Own Voice as Advocate for Youth

By Narelle Bennett-Elliott, Treehouse Marketing & Policy Intern

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Brianna was introduced to Treehouse’s services in eighth grade and ultimately set the goal to work for an organization that advocates for youth in foster care. In October, she accomplished that goal when she was hired as a Network Representative at The Mockingbird Society, which works to transform foster care and end youth homelessness.

“It’s incredible just knowing that from my experiences I can use my voice for others who might not be as confident in their voice,” said Brianna, who is studying communications at Seattle Pacific University.

Brianna also has supported Treehouse in our advocacy work. She accompanied Chief Policy and Strategy Officer Dawn Rains and Education Program Services Manager Tajiana Ellis to Washington D.C. recently to visit Congress and discuss issues impacting youth in care.

“It’s so important for lawmakers to hear directly from young people about the impact of policy on their lives,” Dawn said. “I’m so excited that this experience has inspired Brianna to ensure that young people’s voices are heard.”

Having grown up in care, Brianna understands the challenges facing youth because she has been where they are.

“It’s as simple as being on my college campus and hearing my classmates talk about going on vacations and how alienated someone from my background can feel,” Brianna said.

She wants everyone who has experienced foster care to own their experiences and know there is no reason to feel shame about them. It’s equally important to learn to advocate for yourself.

“That has such a huge impact on an individual’s confidence if they can speak out for themselves,” Brianna said.

 

Every year, The Mockingbird Society hosts Youth Advocacy Day, which allows youth to advocate for themselves in front of their legislators in Olympia. Brianna participated in this year’s event on February 8.

“The impact I hope to have is knowing there is power in your voice, and most of all, that it can lead to meaningful change,” she said.

You can be a voice for youth in foster care like Brianna. Join our Advocacy Action Center to get started.

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About the Author

Narelle Bennett-Elliott is the Treehouse Marketing and Policy Intern.


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