Eckerd and the Florida Department of Children and Families will present a local launch of the statewide “It Can Be Done” campaign on October 28, 2014 at the Eckerd Community Alternatives Family Place. This campaign highlights the successes of Florida’s foster youth and former foster youth in pursuing their educational, professional and life goals. Developed in partnership with former and current foster youth, this social media-driven campaign encourages the community to support young people who are aging out of the foster care system and starting their lives as young adults.
Through this campaign, foster youth are encouraged to highlight their own academic and professional successes using the #itCANbedone hashtag and posting to social media. Through this effort, foster youth throughout the state can use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see how their peers are achieving their goals and overcoming obstacles. The campaign also highlights how the community is supporting these young people. Members of the community can get involved in supporting these youth by visiting the campaign website at MyFLFamilies.com/itCANbedone.
“Our youth aging out of foster care face so many obstacles,” says Kathleen Cowan, Executive Director of Eckerd Community Alternatives in Hillsborough County, “This campaign is a way for our foster youth to share some of their successes and also serves as an outlet for them to encourage each other. And it is thanks both to the strength and determination of the youth themselves and to the community support from partners like those here today that our youth aging out of foster care are finding success!”
#itCANbedone Success Story: Lisa Moss
Ms. Moss is a former foster youth and Independent Living Services (ILS) recipient who worked hard to get to where she is today. Lisa valued the opportunities provided to her and although she took on the “mother role” with her 4 siblings that were also part of the child welfare system, she was able to successfully balance the needs of her family, maintaining employment and achieving her goal of obtaining her Bachelor’s degree. Lisa graduated from high school; she earned her associates degree from Hillsborough Community College and soon after her Bachelor’s degree from University of South Florida. Lisa’s passion to serve stemmed from her work starting out at the ILS Teen Center where she was able to encourage youth from foster care not to run away utilizing her “I’ve been there, you too can get through this” approach. Today, the same compassion that Lisa showed at an early age has transferred to her new role as a Child Welfare Case Manager for Gulfcoast Jewish and Community Services in partnership with Eckerd Community Alternatives.
#itCANbedone Success Story: Danielle McMahan
Ms. McMahan loves her community and the opportunity to give back. Danielle spent over 4 years in the foster care system and a portion of that time separated from her sibling who was also in care. That was one of the most difficult times of her life. Fortunately, Danielle was reunited with her sibling and they were able to live together again. Danielle used that difficult experience to grow stronger and fight for change within the foster care system. Danielle has served as the Hillsborough Youth Empowerment Board President and Vice President and she is also an active member of Florida Youth Shine, a statewide youth run advocacy group. Danielle has appreciated how the community has always come together to offer youth in care opportunities to build life skills, obtain resources and make connections. Danielle is fond of the Junior League of Tampa Bay, as it is with the many skills learned through their workshops and events, including the annual sibling event, that Danielle felt confident that she could succeed. Through learning of the Junior League’s mission she was inspired to give back. Danielle’s resiliency has helped her accomplish her goal of earning her Associates degree at Hillsborough Community College. She now attends the University of South Florida as she pursues a degree in Criminology in hopes to continue to impact the child welfare system.
WHAT: #itCANbedone Kick-Off Event
WHEN: Tuesday, October 28 from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm
WHERE: Eckerd Community Alternatives Family Place | 9391 N Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33612
WHO: Lisa Mayrose, Regional Managing Director for Florida Department of Children and Families; Kathleen Cowan, Executive Director of Eckerd Community Alternatives in Hillsborough; Former foster youth; Community Stakeholders; Case Workers and Service Providers.