Why Students in Foster Care Inspire Me

By Laycee Weier, Treehouse Educational Advocate

My name is Laycee Weier and I have been an Educational Advocate with Treehouse for the past 3 ½ years. As an Educational Advocate I partner with schools, caregivers and social workers to support the education of youth in foster care. I help to remove barriers and educate social workers, community partners, caregiver’s and youth themselves about educational advocacy. My work at Treehouse is the most rewarding work I have done in my career.

What inspired me to work with youth in foster care:

Youth in foster care are unique. All of the youth I work with have proven to be resilient and resourceful. Time and time again, case by case this has been proven true. Their ability to go through storms and come out successful (whatever definition of success rings true for them) is inspiration for me to continue to help. If I can provide any assistance to make their lives better than it’s been a good day at work.

What I have learned about my student’s experience in the foster care system:

I have learned that no case is the same…ever. It is easy for foster youth to get lost in the system and easily become just a number. All of the youth we serve have been through trauma that has affected their education in some way. Nothing stays the same. Empathy is a requirement for this work. Judgement helps no one. Attitude is everything when navigating this complex system. I am amazed by some of my youth’s attitudes in the face of incomprehensible adversity. They are truly amazing.

What I have learned about my students that inspires me:

I have learned that most people are good and the kindness of others, resiliency and willingness to change is the best inspiration one can hope for. I am inspired every day because I have been given the ability to speak up and stand up for those who can’t, to challenge others to do what is best for our youth in care and to engage in discussions on how we can improve their lives. My students have taught me that it’s okay that there are not answers to all of the questions and problems they face but they have taught me never to stop searching for them. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from my students is that change is possible through education!

How I’ve grown as an individual due to my work with kids in care:

I really didn’t know what to expect when I started my job as an Educational Advocate. I had ideas about how I would structure my practice around this work. Let me tell you it has changed and evolved a lot these past years. What I have become is grateful, knowledgeable, useful in my community and more hopeful than ever about the educational outcomes for youth in foster care.

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About the Author

As a Treehouse Educational Advocate, Laycee Weier, MSW, collaborates with schools, social workers, foster families and youth in foster care to resolve difficult issues and remove barriers to kids’ school success. Prior to joining Treehouse she worked with high school youth at an alternative high school helping at risk students stay on track to graduate and worked with foster youth as a practicum student at Children’s Administration. Since 2009 she has participated with her local Juvenile Justice Center as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). Laycee has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Social Work which helps her to bring a unique set of skills to advocacy.

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