Celebrate National Foster Care Month with JBAY & Author David Ambroz on May 25th
May is Foster Care Awareness Month and John Burton Advocates for Youth is delighted to be celebrating it with a special event featuring David Ambroz, former foster youth, advocate and author of A Place Called Home.
On Tuesday, May 25th, JBAY Executive Director Amy Lemley will interview David at the Commonwealth Club in downtown San Francisco to discuss his book and the state of foster care in California and nationally.
A Place Called Home features David’s experience of homelessness as a child and later in foster care. He describes walking the streets seeking shelter while his mother is battling mental illness. Once in foster care, he is moved from home to home and, in all but one placement, he’s abused. And throughout his experience, his sexuality is rejected and ridiculed.
According to Amy, David’s book has a lot to teach us. “David really brings us into his world as a child and makes us feel his fear, powerlessness and confusion. It’s also filled with great insights about the ways, both large and small, we make it hard for young people.”
David’s book has been a success, receiving acclaim from both the literary world and policy makers, including Hillary Rodham Clinton. “It’s impossible to read A Place Called Home and not want to redouble your efforts to fight the systems of poverty that have plagued America for far too long. In this book, David shares his deeply personal story and issues a rousing call to make this a more humane and compassionate nation.”
While in foster care, David remained committed to education, even when adults in his life discouraged him. He finished high school in Spain and then attended Vassar College, followed by law school at UCLA. He currently serves as the Head of Community Engagement (West) for Amazon and formerly led Corporate Social Responsibility for Walt Disney Television.
Amy is looking forward to her conversation with David on May 25th. “David is exceptional, but it would be a mistake to read his book and think that what he has achieved is beyond the reach of every young person in foster care. His story reminds us we have to keep working to ensure all foster youth get what they deserve: compassion, love and an opportunity to live a satisfying, economically secure adulthood.”
The program will start at 6:00 p.m. followed by a reception at 7:00 p.m. For more information and to register for the event, follow this link.
Executive Director: Amy Lemley
John Burton Advocates for Youth improves the quality of life for youth in California who have been in foster care or homeless by advocating for better laws, training communities to strengthen local practices and conducting research to inform policy solutions.
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When I was 17, I’d been sleeping at a park for several months and my social worker came to see me. She told me about a new program called SILP. It sounded too good to be true. I cried when I got it. This option gives young people like me a sense of hope and trust in the system again. It has meant being able to hold my own and still be supported.
Be the Safety Net for Foster and Homeless Youth
Foster youth often lack a safety net of people to call on when they need help, so when unexpected costs occur, they can have life-altering consequences: losing a job, dropping out of school, or homelessness.
“Even though we’re changing state laws and regulations for the long term, we know young people need help today,” says Amy Lemley, JBAY’s executive director.
The Burton Critical Needs and Opportunity Fund is designed to provide that safety net, with funds going directly into the hands of young people when they need it most. JBAY is raising $250,000 this year, and with a $1-for-$1 match, donors can double their impact on helping 1,600 young people with basic necessities like school supplies, transportation, medical bills, and groceries.
Catherine Cope MacMillan
College Futures Foundation
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
George and Judy Marcus
Help for Children
John and Mary Pat Kagel
Pritzker Foster Care Initiative
Sisters of St. Joseph
Tipping Point Community
United Way California
Walter S. Johnson Foundation