Two leaders with the True Up Youth Advisory Council (YAC) were able to follow in the footsteps of a Kentucky lawmaker to get an up-close look at our government in action. Both walked away with lessons learned and were able to share some experiences and insight of their own.
Joseph Bartram, YAC president, and Chelsea Hoover, YAC committee chair for special events and projects, traveled to Frankfort on October 15 to shadow Rep. Joni Jenkins, program director of True Up 4.0 at Jefferson Community and Technical College.
Bartram and Hoover attended a meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare as special guests of Jenkins. Teresa James, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Community Based Services, took part in the meeting and had a chance to engage the True Up group, including Nikki Thornton, Director of Program Operations for True Up.
“Having the opportunity to visit Frankfort and meet with some of our decision makers is an invaluable experience that will have a lasting impact,” said Thornton. “I know the experience was enlightening not only for Joe and Chelsea, but the leaders who had a chance to talk with them.”
Bartram is a student at JCTC and remains in foster care, working to learn the skills needed to live independently. He had the opportunity to share some of his experiences with Rep. Mary Lou Marzian and Rep. Kelly Flood, both members of the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare.
Bartram spoke of his support for separate, mandatory training for state workers regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or questioning (LGBTQ) youth and young adults. The information is currently part of the mandatory training on cultural diversity that workers receive. Bartram believes workers and youth would benefit from training dedicated solely to LGBTQ issues and awareness.
The True Up YAC is a group of current and former foster youth who have come together to support one another and advocate for change in the foster care system. They have diverse backgrounds, but are working together to improve their lives and the lives of other youth in foster care.