Lost Childhoods: Foster Youth Perspectives
October 18, 2015
About the conversation
In 2012, there were 51,800 children under the age of 18 in California living in foster care. As of July 2014, there were 5,802 foster youth in the San Francisco Bay Area. Approximately 4,000 foster youth “age out” of care each year in California with insufficient housing, support, education, wellness and resources. Latrenda and Valentino shared some stories from their experience in the foster care system, and with the Revs. Chase and Edwards, discussed the meaningfulness of the chosen artifacts for the Foster Youth Museum exhibit, that not only illuminate disrupted childhoods and the impacts of an imperfect system, but also testify to every young person’s extraordinary potential for redemption and personal transformation. In the words of one contributor, “The foster care system leaves a footprint of loss and I’ve had to unlearn every single way the system raised me.”
About the guests
Latrenda Leslie is a former foster youth. She serves as a Kinship Navigator at Lincoln Child Center and hopes to become a nurse. During her free time, she enjoys playing with her daughter, writing and dancing.
Valentino Luna is a former foster youth who survived the streets of Hollywood as a homeless runaway and commercially sexually exploited youth. He currently lives in Phoenix, is happily married, and he and his partner plan to foster youth in the next two years. Valentino is currently writing his memoir about his experiences in Hollywood. The Revs. Christopher Chase and Rebecca Edwards are the co-directors of Braid Mission, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of California reaching out to youth in foster care. Chris and Rebecca began the work of Braid in 2014. As a team, they bring years of experience in youth/young adult ministry, Christian education, ministry development, and ecumenical ministry. Braid’s work centers on collaborative, intergenerational programs and partnerships with other non-profits and agencies serving foster youth in the Bay Area, including California Youth Connection, Y.O.U.T.H. Training Project, SF Human Services Agency, and others. Braid recently launched a mentoring program for youth ages 11-14, in which each youth is matched with an intergenerational team of three mentors. You can learn more at www.braidmission.org.
About the host
The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens is the ninth dean of Grace Cathedral. Malcolm is an Episcopal priest, an author who has published books on spirituality and the environment and writes about religion for Huffington Post, and founder of the Ventana School in Los Altos, CA.
A deeper look
Visit Lost Childhoods: A Foster Youth Museum Exhibition
Guest: Latrenda Leslie and Valentino Luna
In 2012, there were 51,800 children under the age of 18 in California living in foster care. As of July 2014, there were 5,802 foster youth in the San Francisco Bay Area. Approximately 4,000 foster youth “age out” of care each year in California.
Free and open to all