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Chapter Voice

Mockingbird Youth Network: Our Voice. Our Future Chapter Snapshots
Seattle Chapter participants at November’s meeting Seattle Chapter participants at November’s meeting

Over the last three months the Seattle Chapter has been increasing our knowledge and skills on Washington politics and learning to convey our stories in effective ways.

In September, we started with an icebreaker that talked about stereotypes, how we label people and how this relates to foster care. We followed this icebreaker with an activity that helped us tell our stories in a creative way. Leo used pastels to create a rap about his life while others drew pictures, made collages and wrote stories.

In October, we painted pumpkins in honor of Halloween, the Chapter Leaders gave an update on our Summit topic (which is Alternatives to Psychotropic Medication) and we made a brief video where each member of the Chapter said what the Chapter does in one phrase.

Finally, at the past November meeting we played the “ha-ha” icebreaker that showed what one person does in life affects others. It was challenging, but hysterical at the same time. We also played political jeopardy to inform everyone about basic state-wide government, Mockingbird history and Extended Foster Care with a little history about Thanksgiving thrown in. We also did a communications style test which indicated each person’s style of communication.

As we look toward the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014, we are participating in a video campaign for Extended Foster Care and our Chapter is coming up with a one-minute video on this issue. We want to educate and inform youth in our community about this piece of legislation. The Seattle Chapter will try hard to get this issue passed in 2014 and will advocate for it at Youth Advocacy Day. We are looking forward to the December Chapter Meeting on December 10th and we invite everyone to come!!

Region 1 South (Everett)

At the Everett November Chapter meeting we had a potluck, with a variety of food people had brought to eat, talk and do some activities. One of the activities that we did was a communication style quiz. We had a chance to gather with the communication style group that we matched up with. In these groups, we talked about how we approached things, based on the style we are. Another activity was about the Extended Foster Care Legislation. We talked about what qualifies and what doesn’t, how it will benefit youth, and that if you didn’t get the help that you needed before you turned 18, there’s still more time to sign up for Extended Foster Care. We planned out a one minute commercial video for others. All an all it was a great night of fun and information.

Region 1 South (Yakima)

During November our chapter was very busy! Our chapter leaders represented Yakima at the 4th quarter State Leadership Council. We presented the Culture of Foster Care training for the Outpatient Mental Health staff at Catholic Family & Child Service in Yakima on the 20th. On the 26th we had our chapter meeting and started planning for the extended foster care campaign video project.

Region 1 North (Spokane)

On November 20th, the Spokane collaborated with Volunteers of America to have a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We had over 15 youth attend along with VOA staff. There was a lot of delicious nontraditional Thanksgiving food- taco salad, mashed potatoes, enchiladas and desserts all made by the VOA staff! We enjoyed good company and a little competitive game of Catch Phrase with girls versus guys. The girls ended up winning 5-3. It was definitely a Thanksgiving we all will never forget.

Region 3 North (Tacoma)

We had a successful chapter meeting this month with Ken Emmil and Lily from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), discussing the issue of educational continuity and how that needs resolution now. Ken expressed a huge interest in staying involved with Mockingbird, and we will be keeping him in the loop as we go further with this issue. State Leadership Council was also this month, where we shared the great news that on October 25th Jennifer Strus stated she fully backs the final additions to Extended Foster Care (EFC). Now the rallying for EFC begins to gain more supporters and spread some knowledge.

Region 3 South (Olympia)

Congrats to Mikhail and myself for becoming the new chapter leaders for Olympia. We are already hard at work. On November 16th we went to a State Leadership Council meeting. We talked about Extended Foster Care, and legal representation for foster youth. We also talked about talking to legislators as well as Youth Advocacy Day. We are currently making videos about extended foster youth. Each of the chapters is making one to educate the public on the importance of Extended Foster Care.