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Mockingbird Times - September, 2016

Mockingbird times 




The Summit Heard Around the World

Kim Hines (Photo: Jerry Davis) In all my time with The Mockingbird Society, I have participated in six Youth Leadership Summits. Summit is the time and place where Mockingbird chapter members from all seven regions present the proposals they’ve been working on for months to the Washington State Supreme Court Commission on Children in Foster Care. This year, for the first time ever, the chapters also presented to the state Office of Homeless Youth Advisory Committee. It’s an important event for Mockingbird and it’s also an important opportunity for youth to hone their leadership skills through direct advocacy.

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Because We Are United

Louie Gasper (Photo: Jerry Davis) For every foster youth that dances across the stage with their diploma, there is another foster youth who lost too much education in the system and fell through the cracks. By the end of college, only 3 out of 100 youth in care will obtain their bachelor’s degree.

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Letter from the Executive Director

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Friends and Allies,

Our annual Youth Leadership Summit happened a few weeks ago, and I’m still buzzing with the excitement of what is possible when young people are truly engaged as partners and leaders. You will hear much in the pages of this issue that pertains to the youth chapter recommendations and the Summit itself, so I would like to share with you another peek behind the curtain to the months, weeks and days leading up to the Summit.

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Youth Need Support, Not Detention

A status offense is the illegal behavior of a youth under age 18. According to the law, that same behavior would not be criminal if committed by an adult. Some examples of status offenses include truancy, running away from biological family or a foster care placement, or violating curfews.

According to the Federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), youth cannot be placed in secure detention or locked confinement for committing status offenses. However, the valid court order (VCO) exception is an amendment to the JJDPA that says if there is a VCO with which a youth is not complying, the youth can be held in detention.

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You Create Change – Vote!

With elections right around the corner, I am reminded of how important it is to elect a leader who considers the overall safety of those for whom they are responsible. My recent interactions with police officers, coupled with the growing tension around the nation about how people in power treat minorities, is on my mind as I write this.

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Schools Can End Youth Homelessness

Esco Mustapha (Photo: Jerry Davis) It’s back to school month! And in this article I will highlight the importance of schools as a resource for preventing youth from ending up on the streets. Becoming a homeless youth can start early and is often the result of an accumulation of many issues. Therefore, it is imperative that we start our prevention work as early as possible. Schools are perfect avenues for us to connect with youth who are most vulnerable and provide them the support they need to live normal teen lives.

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Food, Bed, A Place to Rest Your Head

Around this time last summer, in all, there were 65 possible beds for homeless youth in the city of Seattle. But did you know that there has been a near 300% increase in the number of shelter beds this year? New shelters have been popping up left and right since last year. One such shelter in the International District recently opened its doors in April. This new shelter is located on Jackson Street, close to Rainier Avenue. It is hidden in a big grey building towering behind a blue fence. If you aren’t looking for the place with the right eyes, it is very easy to miss.

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Art In Action

I Come From

I come from the trash, the garbage, the murky gray, the hidden places I’d rather not say.

I come from spending early years in the noise, the loud voices, the clutter of broken toys.

As I grew, my heart broken, overheated and boiling my blood.

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