A Suitcase and a Dream: From Foster to Prosper
Photo of Brittany Sherell
The American Foster care system has been criticized for failing to meet the needs of children, allowing teens to age out of the system without proper support, and struggles to adequately place youth in safe environments. May is National Foster Care Awareness month and we wanted to shed some light on this very important topic.
Did you know, one in five young people who age out of the system will become homeless? One in four will be involved in the justice system within two years of leaving foster care. And it's estimated that more than 40% of youth who age out won't complete high school.
Many of us currently reading this blog have the luxury of viewing those numbers as just stats. But, for Brittney Sherell that was her reality. Born in Flint, Michigan and raised in Port Huron, MI, Brittney has now arisen from being labeled a ward of the state, to becoming an author and founder of a non-profit to support youth in foster care. Brittney's book "A Suitcase and a Dream: My True Story from Foster to Prosper” chronicles memorable life experiences from childhood abuse and growing up in the foster care system.
Why was it important for you to start your organization?
"I started the non-profit, because I understood what it felt like to be homeless after foster care, while still holding onto my dreams, and my suitcase. Living in Atlanta was a dream."
What can others do to raise awareness during this month and beyond?
"Look for organizations that have a clear vision and that captivate your heart. Get involved if it's something you are passionate about. Spreading awareness can simply mean sharing or liking a post. Doing your research and understanding the needs of the organization. And not just bringing awareness in one month, but throughout the year."
Brittney is on a mission and has found a way to turn her mess into her message! We were first introduced to Brittney during the 2021 Atlanta Sistahs in Business Expo. During a panel with our Featured Speaker, Quad Webb of Married to Medicine, Brittney shared her story and sparked some interest with the panelist. It was a powerful moment!
We never forgot about this Sistah and wanted to be a part of bringing awareness to her message. Children in Foster care deserve to be placed in safe environments and equipped with the tools that will allow them to have the best quality of life once they age out of the system.
Click here to donate and learn more about A Suitcase and a Dream. If you can provide a child with a safe, nurturing, loving environment for a temporary period of time, consider becoming a Foster Parent. Visit Childwelfare.gov for more information.