In honor of Foster Care Awareness Month, our staff picks highlight the topic and take a deeper dive into important narratives told by foster youth themselves. This month’s picks include an award-winning novel, an impactful movie musical, and another influencer who deserves your follow. While each selection demonstrates the harsh realities of growing up and coming of age in the foster care system, the picks also provide levity and hope that together, we can all work towards a better future for foster youth.
Book Pick – Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
Described as perfect for fans of the hit television series This Is Us, Robin Benway’s New York Times Bestseller and National Book Award Winner follows the stories and perspective of three siblings separated by the child welfare system, yet connected by blood. Grace, Maya, and Joaquin’s narratives unfold as adoptee Grace begins her search for her biological family. Touching on topics including foster care, adoption, and teen pregnancy, the novel is equal parts heart-wrenching and heartwarming. In the end, the siblings’ story proves that biological family and chosen family do not have to be perfect to find the love and hope we all deserve.
Movie Pick – Know How directed by Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza
This unique movie musical written and acted by foster youth has been lauded as ‘Rent’ of the next generation” by The Los Angeles Times. Told through a multi-narrative perspective, Know How holds nothing back as its creators and actors tell their own stories of growing up in New York City’s foster care system. The film is gritty, raw, and powerful as the youth behind the production authentically tell their own stories using their own voices. The story and music weave together to tell tales of loss, devastation, struggle, and redemption as each character learns to survive. This impactful movie shines a spotlight on the sometimes unheard and unseen stories of foster care through the real-life view of the youth living in this system.
Influencer Pick – Cordelia Cranshaw
We are thrilled to highlight this local hero who works tirelessly as a foster care advocate. Cordelia aged out of the foster care system at age 21, earned her MSW at age 22, founded her nonprofit, Random Acts of Kindness in 2014, and was crowned Miss D.C. in 2019. While on the pageant circuit, Cordelia elevated issues regarding foster care to the national stage and inspired others to “never let their negative circumstances determine their future successes.” Today, Cordelia uses her “Survivor to Thriver” mentality to continue to advocate for foster youth and tell her own story, bringing attention to the struggles and triumphs children in foster care face. We encourage everyone to head over to her Instagram page, give her a follow, and tune into her hopeful and authentic messages that promise to help us all thrive.