Zaid Gayle

[(child of foster alumna + youth development) x advocate] = RESILIENCE

As Executive Director of Peace4Kids, Zaid oversees an ambitious organizational growth plan, with the intended impact of helping foster and at-risk youth transition successfully into adulthood. Having been involved in community leadership and program development for over 20 years, Zaid co-founded Peace4Kids to promote peaceful conflict resolution among youth in South Los Angeles. During his 15 years with Peace4Kids, he has served as a volunteer, mentor, board member, and teacher.

QUESTION: Why is serving the foster care community important to you?

ANSWER: My mom is an alumna of foster care. She has always been driven and successful while six of her brothers and sisters have led much more difficult lives. I always wondered what made my mom so much more resilient. If we can discover some key concepts and assets then I believe we can improve the chances for success for other foster youth.

QUESTION: How are you trying to discover these assets?

ANSWER: I am working with a group of young leaders at Fostering Change who have developed a research project to discover the adaptive strengths of foster youth. It's called the Fostering Resiliency Project and will explore this issue over a period of five years. I am also applying what we learn to my program model at Peae4Kids.

QUESTION: This sounds like a serious commitment

ANSWER: [Laughing]. Yes.. you're right. I've been involved in the foster care community my whole life I guess. Committing to the next five years seems like a small part of the story. Plus, if the time I commit helps change the child welfare system for the better then I know I will have honored my mother appropriately.


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