Courtney Nash

[(advocate + musician) x alumna] = RESILIENCE

Courtney Nash is a Compton, CA native and a foster care advocate. This past year has been one of many milestones. In May 2012 she graduated from Loyola Marymount University with her bachelors in Recording Arts Technology, got accepted to the Masters program at Mills College for Educational Leadership, and has been traveling the state to educate the foster care community on the implementation of AB12 [the landmark legislation that increased the legal age of foster care from 18 to 21]. As a Gates Millennium Scholar education is important to Courtney, but equally important are the social justice issues that impact the equitable access of vulnerable and underrepresented populations.

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

ANSWER: As an alumna and a compassionate being, I am in unique and powerful position to serve our community.  As an adult, using my experiences from childhood as a tool for change is empowering as well as therapeutic.  Plus, this is a great excuse to hang out with amazing and talented people!

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

ANSWER: Foster youth are not hopeless or waiting to be saved.  Foster youth are not damaged goods destined to become broken adults, and definitely are not paychecks.  Foster youth are human beings, flawed and all, but filled to the brim with heart and potential.  The foster care experience calls for growing up fast and digging deep to utilize personal strengths and resources.  When we share our experience, the triumphs and the hardship, it is not that we want you to feel sorry for us, but simply to try to understand.  Foster youth don't need sympathy; just a shot.

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

ANSWER: Fostering Change has the potential to change the game entirely.  What I mean is, we have the opportunity to truly strengthen the dialogue of what it means to be a foster youth from within, with the youth.  Changing the paradigm of the system from the inside is going to have waves of impact in how youth view themselves, and how the world falls into place around them.  We have the tools to influence policy, resources, and public attitudes toward this population for the long term. 

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