Our Youth

Did you ever wonder what it was like to be in foster care?  Or how young people find strength and resilience after losing a parent, experiencing a crime, living with strangers? Many of our youth have overcome great difficulties to become successful young adults with bright futures. Meet Jessica, whose determination earned her a full scholarship to Northwestern. Read her story here.Meet Ann, who earned a $14,000 scholarship to attend school in New York. Read her story here. Meet Anastasia, who found the support to go to college. Read her story here. These are just a few of the incredible stories we have of teens who have left foster care with a solid foundation and ready to do great things in the world. In addition, there are videos that were created by foster youth and film students from UW-Milwaukee highlighting how some foster youth have overcome challenges. We are very proud of the success our youth have had and want to make sure their success is possible for all youth in foster care.


As a sophomore in high school, Brigette Haley was struggling. Her grades were poor and she wasn’t even considering college as an option after she graduated. Brigette’s troubles in school stemmed from issues at home that were bigger than most teenagers could handle. “I was sneaking out of the house all the time because I just didn’t want to be there. Had I continued down that path, I’m pretty sure I would have started abusing drugs,” Brigette said. It was during that sophomore year that Brigette befriended a teammate on the pom and dance team, Sarah. The two quickly became good friends. Sarah’s mother, Sharlot Bogart, could see Brigette’s struggles, and offered to let her stay with the family when things were bad. “She knew about the things going on in my life, and she always offered to let me stay with them.” Brigette said. “I would go over there and eat them out of house and home.”  Continue Reading…


Perry is the first one in his family to go to college and he got there because he had a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer.  As he grew up in a big family in the foster care system, he wishes that his brothers and sisters would have been as fortunate as he was to work with a CASA volunteer.  Watch Perry’s story about the value of having a CASA volunteer.


“Ann” is a 18 year-old with a critical eye – for film. Ann recently teamed up with students from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee to make a short video about foster care. The project allowed Ann to tell her story and interview other youth and policy makers. She also shot some video and learned about the filmmaking process. Ann and UWM film graduate Daniel Kelly were able to sit down with Wisconsin State Rep. Tamara Grigsby, Youth Advisory President Jonathan Boyde and other community leaders. Ann graduated with honors from the Milwaukee School of Languages with a language certificate in French. She is also a member of the city champion girls’ soccer team.  Ann is now in college in New York.  Continue Reading…


Jessica is an 18-year-old from Milwaukee. She is a 2009 graduate of Rufus King International Baccalaureate High School. Jessica participated in the National Forensic League, the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society during high school. Jessica also held several jobs in high school to support all of her activities and interests. She received the prestigious Horatio Alger and Dell Scholarships. She attends Northwestern University.  Continue Reading…


Sitting down in her first college class, Anastasia probably has a bunch of thoughts running through her head: what will the instructor be like, what will the classwork be like or will I find a friendly face in the class. But no matter what seat she chooses, one thing is for sure: Anastasia won’t forget how hard she worked to get there. “Once I’m in the classroom, I won’t be able to forget that someone else could be sitting in that seat instead of me,” she said. Anastasia didn’t always plan on going to college. But a conversation with her cousins, both of whom were attending college, helped change her mind. Continue Reading…


When Heidi Bronsdon was in foster care, all she wanted to do was get out. She wanted to shut the door on that part of her life and never look back.  She was upset that she had been separated from her siblings and frustrated that no one seemed to care what she thought. “Growing up in care, I always wanted to escape the system. When I was still in care, I had no desire to work with anyone on improving the system even if the opportunity had been presented to me. I was resentful of the system and wanted out,” Heidi said.  Continue Reading…


Greta Munns, 2014 foster alumni graduation speaker, inspired foster alumni at the Governor’s Residence. Greta’s speech moved and inspired Kids Matter youth and volunteers so much that they tracked Greta down and begged her to share her message. ” We need to see our scars, and each other’s scars as something that enriches our potential rather than diminishes it. I am better healer, helper, mother, wife and person because I have scars.”  2014 Graduation Speech from Greta Munns