Derek Lewis

[(mentorship + advocate) x kinship = RESILIENCE

Derek is a Los Angeles native who was raised by his aunt. He has been a vocal advocate and mentor for youth in foster care. He has helped develop the implementation plan for AB12 [extended foster care] and speaks across the state on issues that impact the well-being of foster youth. Derek currently coordinates after school activities and programs for teens at the Star View Community Center in Torrance.

QUESTION: Why did you get involved in the Fostering Resiliency project?

ANSWER: I wanted to make sure that other foster youth know that they have a positive voice and story that adds value to the world. I have had a positive outcome as a result of knowing the power of my story, and it has been the most important part of my life. Over the years I have worked with many foster youth and their story is either the reason why they struggle, or the reason they succeed.

QUESTION: What perceptions about the foster care experience do you hope to change?

ANSWER: I hope that foster youth begin to understand that they are a part of a greater community of people that have a shared experience. If they see that they are not alone then they can let other people into their life and receive a blessing. That was what happened to me, and because of that I have been mentored by many people who have consistently helped me in my life.

QUESTION: What impact do you think Fostering Change can have on the foster care community?

ANSWER: Fostering Change is important because everyone involved are people who have a strong connection to foster care. I think that our stories will help the world understand what makes us different, and how this difference is truly our strength. It is only our common voice and stories that will get us there and that's what Fostering Change does... it gives us a platform to tell the real stories of life in foster care.

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