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"As you experience foster care you start to realize you that you have a voice and only you know what's right for you."

Sarah Mitchell shares #HerStory for #SpeakUp:

"The most defining experience in the foster care system was when I got my college acceptance letter. I never thought that I would be accepted to one of the most prestigious colleges in the California system. I then was told that I was beating the odds because not that many foster youth get to college, let alone a college as good as USC. This helped me realize that no matter what, no one can ever take school away from me. They can take my family, my dignity, but they can never take my education.

When I emancipated from the system, the one thing I needed most was a place to stay. As soon as I turned 18 I was sent on my own, not knowing how to survive in the world.

However, the foster care system taught me that if you want something done, you have to be your own advocate. No one can fight for you better than you can fight for yourself.

My advice for other foster youth is to keep fighting because although it may seem hard and tough now, I promise things will get better. Also to stay in school, regardless of how long it takes."

Foster Nation