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Salaam Garage Foster Care Exhibition

Rene T. Murry CCF Chair

On May 1, I had the opportunity to go to the opening night of “The Long Road Home: Aging Out of Foster Care,” an exhibition organized by Salaam Garage.

With chapters in New York and Seattle, Salaam Garage is a digital storytelling organization that unites journalists, writers, photographers and videographers and with international NGOs and local non-profits to create and share projects to create positive social change. Amanda Koster, the Seattle chapter founder and executive producer, also happens to live in my neighborhood. Working side-by-side on another issue, we found that we are both foster care advocates.

The exhibition and event were inspiring and one reason was that the usual suspects weren’t in the room. Many of us who work in foster care advocacy have been around for years. However, this event was full of new faces—people from all walks of life—who were new to the issues surrounding what it is like for a teenager to age of the foster care system.

Washington state is making gains in the area of providing for our young adults who age out foster youth at 18. We now have extended foster care programs that enable 18- to 21-year olds to remain in the system under certain conditions. It is better than it was, but we can still make improvements.

My hope is that the best is yet to come.

I was proud to be there with Jon Brumbach, board member of the Children’s Campaign Fund and employee of the Mockingbird Society and Laurie Lippold from Partners for our Children. We had a chance to speak to others in the room about the importance of their involvement in continuing to advocate for the children in the welfare system.

Two of the adults profiled in one of the media projects also stood up to speak. Their willingness to share their stories with a room full of strangers was impressive.

The exhibition will be on display at the Art Institute of Seattle until June 18. And it is free!

Salaam Garage creates these media projects to share with others. If you have a place that you feel it could be displayed, go to the exhibition and then contact Salaam Garage. I know Amanda will be excited to talk to you.

You can read more about Salaam Garage on their website. Go take a look at the project. I am glad I did.

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