Friday, May 27, 2022

How This Former Foster Care Youth Uses Her Gift of Storytelling to Make a Difference?

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As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about empowering women who are encouraging and doing incredible things with their ideas in society, I had the pleasure of interviewing Charell Star.

Charell is a foster care advocate who creates Instagram reels to raise awareness for Foster Care Youth. You can view her reels here

Charell spent her childhood in and out of Foster Care while her father was in prison and her mother was on and off drugs. Despite her situation, she went on to be the first in her family to graduate from college and become a successful entrepreneur. Charell now continues to commit to advocating for foster youth as an appointed Board Member of CASA NYC and City Living NY. Both organizations cater to making sure the needs of Foster care youth are met and that their rights are protected. 

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to share about Foster Care on Instagram?

I spent a number of years in foster care as a youth and know-how traumatizing an experience that is for children and teens. Sharing my story on my Instagram is a way for me to let youth in care see someone like them who has made it through and help people learn more about foster care and ways they can make a difference for youth. I think the biggest reason I share my story and advocate is that if I don’t speak up I can’t expect others to.  

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began sharing your story?

Wow. There have been so many amazing moments since I started sharing my story. A number of people have reached out to tell me they were inspired to become foster parents or Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) after hearing me speak or learning my story. Youth who’ve aged out of foster care have reached out to me to tell me they’ve enrolled in college. Foster care organizations have used some of my content to train staff, volunteers, foster and adoptive parents, caseworkers, and judges. I’m blown away by the idea that so many people have connected with my story and were inspired to make a difference.    

Is there a particular person you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

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I’m grateful for my great-grandmother. I lived with her when I was younger before I went into foster care. She taught me so many things including that I was loved and worthy of being loved. I remember being told in one foster home, that I was there because “no one wanted me.” In response, I blurted out, “that’s not true” and walked away. No matter how bad things got, I always knew I had someone out there who loved me and no one could take that away from me.  

What were your most important challenges? & How did you overcome those challenges?

Surviving foster care, learning to trust others, and overcoming my traumas were some of the biggest challenges I overcame through the years. I was able to do that by refusing to believe I wasn’t worthy of a full and happy life and by actively working to build a tribe that mirrored the values I believed in most. 

What would you tell yourself ten to twenty years ago that you wish you knew then?

Your dreams will grow and change. Don’t be afraid to grow and change along with them. 

Lastly, what do you think this world needs the most? 

To believe that we are all capable of making change and helping others. 

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