Florida’s Children First (FCF) proudly celebrates 10 years of Florida Youth SHINE Advocacy! After FCF was established in 2002, Florida Youth SHINE was formed so that foster children could tell their stories and advocate for legislative change.
For the past ten years Florida Youth SHINE, a statewide organization now consisting of more than 200 former and current foster children, has been advocating around the state and in the Florida Legislature, for positive change to the system of care by using their experience and stories. In 2005, Florida’s Children First, a statewide group of child advocates (www.floridaschildrenfirst.org) created Florida Youth SHINE because it believed that the youth are the experts and when making decisions about youth and it is critical to have a youth voice at the table. Florida Youth SHINE empowers their members to identify and share the issues they experienced and work for solutions through advocacy. One of the ways they do this is by educating others about the issues and improvements that need to be made.
In honor of Florida Youth SHINE turning ten, FCF has 10 amazing digital stories to share.
In an effort to reach more people and expand the youth voice, Florida Youth SHINE decided to create a series of Digital Stories. These digital stories were created to give an opportunity for youth to share their story in a creative way and inform people about their experience.
Ten youth from around the state of Florida came together for a 4 day workshop where staff from The Center for Digital Storytelling facilitated the storytelling experience. The youth told their own stories, and learned for the first time how to create and edit their own videos. This was an opportunity to give them a chance to share their stories, learn new skills, and let their truths be heard.
They all learned something about themselves in the telling as well as listening to themselves and to each other. These stories were not “messaged” or made by professionals. They are real experiences, of real children who were involved in the system. They are told by themselves and made by themselves. These are their truths.
Every Wednesday at noon beginning on Wednesday, January 20th a new Florida Youth SHINE digital story will be released. Stories can be viewed at www.floridaschildrenfirst.org as they are released. Make sure to tune in!