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Uniting alumni of the foster care system to help others

Sarah David

Sarah David

“Connect. Thrive. Grow” is the mantra of the Fostering Change Network, an organization that takes the importance of networking and the value of experience and unites individuals with that experience to benefit alumni of the foster care system throughout the nation and the world.

This concept is the amazing vision of Shalita O’Neale. O’Neale founded Fostering Change Network as a way to use her 15 years of experience in child welfare training, program development and advocacy to connect young professionals with people with foster care histories, like her, through local and national professional networking events.

O’Neale explains: “As alumni of foster care, we are working hard to dispel the foster care stigma by highlighting the contributions of people from foster care and supporting young adults in and from foster care in their personal and professional endeavors. We are everywhere and doing amazing things. It’s important that our younger brothers and sisters in foster care see examples of success and know that we are here to help them navigate life after the system.”

Many young professionals are looking for opportunities to network, develop and, of course, contribute. The Fostering Change Network’s most recent event offered the opportunity to do just that.

The Fostering Change Network Foundation and The Fostering Terp Success Program at The University of Maryland College Park teamed up to present the 2019 Alumni Powerhouse Networking Conference (APNC) on June 15-16 at the University of Maryland, College Park.

The goal of the conference was to bring adults with experience of the foster care system to a safe and supportive space where they can promote their business endeavors, get feedback from other alumni on how to build and expand their businesses (and nonprofits), as well as to connect professionally and personally with other adult professionals from foster care. This year the APNC also welcomed young people in foster care who are current/aspiring students and professionals who work with young adults in and from foster care.

For more information and to get involved, visit

If you think you could benefit from this opportunity, by sharing business ideas, mentoring a person in your field or helping in any other capacity, get in touch.