May 2024 Staff Recommendations

Collage of stories with a woman, a book, and short film

A Former Foster Care Youth and Advocate On Learning To Be the Mother She Didn’t Have 

Charell Star is the current executive director at Muse by Clio and a board member at both CASA NYC and City Living NY—an agency that empowers youth aging out of foster care. You may recall Charell from a previous talk hosted by Fairfax CASA with Charell as moderator in November 2021. A former foster care child herself, Star now advocates for children in foster care. As a youth, Star had a mother battling addiction and a father who was incarcerated, which led to Star’s involvement with the foster care system. In this piece published by Essence, Star describes her desire to be a mother, despite the lack of parental figures in her life and all her efforts and resources that went into learning to be a good mom. 

Emily says, “This piece spotlights Charell Star and her relationship with newfound motherhood. As a former foster care youth, she has a deep understanding of what kind of mother she wants to be and the desire to see it come to fruition.” 

Saving Noah 

Saving Noah follows the Coates family and the revelation that their teenage son, Noah, has molested two young girls at swimming practice. While this is the main premise of the book, the author, Lucinda Berry, explores more than the assault. The book follows the forever-changed Coates family in the aftermath of the assault and how the community reacts to his arrest and crime. The story is told by Noah’s mother, Adrianne, who has a desire to help rehabilitate Noah. Although the story is about Noah, it touches on Adrianne coming to terms with her son’s actions. Overall, Berry takes on a difficult task of exploring a taboo topic and garnering empathy for a character that has committed terrible acts. 

Corrine says, “Saving Noah was an emotionally draining and thought-provoking book. Based loosely on a true story, it challenges views about teenage sexual offenders. The book studies the stigma of the word “pedophile” and the lack of professional help available. It challenges readers’ beliefs regarding teenage sexual offenders and sexual rehabilitation.” 

Remembering Trauma 

Remembering Trauma is a two-part short film released in 2017. Part 1 consists of a narrative that follows an adolescent who endured trauma as a child and continued to battle its effects in his everyday life. Utilizing flashbacks, the film revisits the teen as a young boy, and we are able to see the changes within him that occurred because of trauma. Part 2 revisits parts of the film alongside commentary by child professionals such as teachers, psychologists, and social workers. The professionals discuss the term “complex trauma”—a way to convey that trauma isn’t just one thing or one simple diagnosis—and the importance of service providers taking on a “trauma lens” to better understand traumatized youth. 

Amy says, “So many of our children go through similar situations and feel the same way as the characters in this short film. We ask so much of our children and ask them to overcome so much trauma. We all know the statistics of trauma and the population we serve. This short film is based on a true story and highlights how some of children/youth feel. It is a good reminder that the small stepping stones our youth reach, are in fact HUGE, they have had to overcome so much. This film is also a good reminder to be patient.”