Some young people credit foster care with saving their lives. Others wonder whether they should have been removed from their family in the first place. Many young people fall somewhere in between. While recognizing foster care is a critical safety net, we know that being in the system brings its own unique challenges for children and youth. Separation from family. New schools. Lost pets. Government vehicles. Living with strangers. Belongings gone. People asking questions. Court systems. Stigma. Vulnerability. Grief. Uncertainty.
Being in foster care can be tough. With resources and connections, young people can make it and thrive. And maybe find a way to make the journey through foster care a bit better for the next kid. We created FosterClub for young people who experience foster care. We are stories, not statistics. We coach, but don’t fix. We believe young people should have agency over their own lives. We are peer-to-peer, but we embrace the power of youth/adult partnerships. We are built for youth, powered by youth, and changing life in foster care.
“Because I spent time in foster care, it has incredibly encouraged me to keep being as passionate as I have been, all these years. Advocacy is in my blood, I still talk about FosterClub nearly every day to people eight years later!”Michael Hendricks (former All-Star)
Two boys, ages 10 and 12, were struggling. Their mother had an addiction, and abusive people were in their home. To escape, and sometimes to find something to eat, they wandered their Portland, Oregon, neighborhood and found an empty shed to stay the night. It was 1996, and the shed belonged to a young newlywed couple Celeste and Jeff Bodner.
When child protective services removed the boys from their mother, the brothers identified the Bodners as the most reliable adults in their lives. Celeste and Jeff were asked to become foster parents. Celeste immediately found it odd that while the boys received almost no information about foster care, she and Jeff were supported with training, resources, and connected to a network of experienced foster parents.
The boys’ lives were in upheaval. When one of the boys suffered from anger and depression and struggled with traditional therapy, Celeste looked for a peer support network for him. She couldn’t find one. And FosterClub was born.
Meet the experts behind FosterClub! These individuals work tirelessly to give children and young adults the resources and tools they need to achieve their goals in life.
Celeste is the head coach at FosterClub. She is responsible for ensuring that FosterClub is achieving the organization's strategic plan, and serves as the liaison between FosterClub's leadership, the Board of Directors and the staff. In addition, Celeste works to ensure that FosterClub has the resources to do the work of the organization.