Video: Chardae Anderson

Innovative Collaborations to Improve Youth Outcomes: A Federal, State, and Local Dialogue

Transcript

As she told you, my name is Chardae Anderson, and for the past four years I've been mentored through the Building Dreams mentoring program at Clemson University. The Building Dreams program is a mentoring program of children incarcerated. My caring and devoted mentor is Carol Stewart. She's been my mentor for four years now and I remember when we first me, I remember thinking to myself, "Hmm, is this really going to work? We seem like two different people." She was talking about hiking up a mountain, running miles, and I'm just like "Uhh, a movie here or there? You know, can we do a movie?" But she really opened my eyes and let me see what was beyond my reach. And I started looking at her just at first just being a mentor but she soon changed my view on that and I now see her as one of my best friends and a second mom to me.

So the relationship that we have is just, you know – although she's an adult, she's old – you know, stuff like that. But she's older than me but she doesn't look down on me just because I'm younger than she is. She looks at me as an equal. And although she is a parent and she's been through that and everything like that, she's my mentor and she lends out a helping hand, and she's like one of my best friends. I probably tell her more things that I tell my mom, my sister, my brother, anybody that I can think of she's probably like the first person I run to because she's, you know, she's been there, she's learned, she's made mistakes, and she's, you know, been able to talk to me and tell me what am I doing wrong. And, ok – I was young, I've been through you know, a lot of things, I've been in trouble with school and stuff like that, and I can honestly say that when I was younger I did have an attitude. Yeah, I had an attitude, I'm not even going to deny that, but Miss Carol showed me that, you know, I don't have to have an attitude. I have a beautiful smile and I can light up any room, and I just have to run with that. And I've struggled in life. Yes, I am a child of an incarcerated parent and statistics say that children with incarcerated parents face many difficulties. They're vulnerable to fear, anxiety, depression, anger, and stuff like that, and the behavior consequences can be severe, and they even say that children of incarcerated parents are six to ten times more likely to end up in prison than a normal teen. Well, I made up my mind a long time ago that I will not be another statistic. I will not follow anyone else's footsteps, I will not follow my father's steps, I will make my own decisions, make my own goals, and run with it.

Right now, I'm a sophomore at Clemson University, I'm studying to be a CPA, setting my own goals and I'm glad to say that on this journey, I could have my mentor right beside me.

Youth Briefs

How Individualized Education Program (IEP) Transition Planning Makes a Difference for Youth with Disabilities

Youth who receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and especially young adults of transition age, should be involved in planning for life after high school as early as possible and no later than age 16. Transition services should stem from the individual youth’s needs and strengths, ensuring that planning takes into account his or her interests, preferences, and desires for the future.

Youth Transitioning to Adulthood: How Holding Early Leadership Positions Can Make a Difference

Research links early leadership with increased self-efficacy and suggests that leadership can help youth to develop decision making and interpersonal skills that support successes in the workforce and adulthood. In addition, young leaders tend to be more involved in their communities, and have lower dropout rates than their peers. Youth leaders also show considerable benefits for their communities, providing valuable insight into the needs and interests of young people

How Trained Service Professionals and Self-Advocacy Makes a Difference for Youth with Mental Health, Substance Abuse, or Co-occurring Issues

Statistics reflecting the number of youth suffering from mental health, substance abuse, and co-occurring disorders highlight the necessity for schools, families, support staff, and communities to work together to develop targeted, coordinated, and comprehensive transition plans for young people with a history of mental health needs and/or substance abuse.

Young Adults Formerly in Foster Care: Challenges and Solutions

Nearly 30,000 youth aged out of foster care in Fiscal Year 2009, which represents nine percent of the young people involved in the foster care system that year. This transition can be challenging for youth, especially youth who have grown up in the child welfare system.

Coordinating Systems to Support Transition Age Youth with Mental Health Needs

Research has demonstrated that as many as one in five children/youth have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Read about how coordination between public service agencies can improve treatment for these youth.

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