Vol. 15, No. 1 • November 2010

SaySo Update
Wishes Can Come True!

by Nancy Carter, Executive Director, SaySo

Several months ago, Lauren Zingraff (SaySo Program Coordinator) came to me and asked “What is on your wish list for SaySo?”

Without hesitation, I told her my dream was to raise money to charter a bus to take SaySo youths and their adult chaperones to the National Independent Living Conference in Washington, DC. The conference, affectionately known as “Growing Pains,” has been held all over the country for 23 years but never in North Carolina. Washington DC is close, drivable, and provides access to our nation’s capital. What could be better?

With Lauren’s help and the commitment of several adult chaperones and youths from American Children’s Home and Pitt, Durham, Moore, Gaston, and Forsyth Counties, SaySo secured partial funding from the Fenwick Foundation to charter a Holiday Tours bus. The conference participants numbered over 500 from all over the US and Puerto Rico. North Carolina was well represented at this conference, with approximately 70 participants. SaySo commenced discussions with the National Foster Youth Alumni Association and the Virginia Project Life youth advocacy group. Ideas such as an exchange program with the youths in Virginia and starting a NC Alumni Chapter started to gain momentum.

SaySo Board members presented two very well received workshops, “Different Paths to Permanency” and “Youth Advocacy Options! Take Your Pick,” creating repercussions for both adults and youth audience members. Adults were impressed with the honestly and insight of the presentation, while youths from other states buzzed about how to organize their own SaySo groups. The conference provided many “firsts” for our youth members: first time presenting, first time outside of North Carolina, first time in DC, and for many adults, the first time not driving their youths to an event!

Clearly the highlight of the trip was the visit to the Capital itself. On Tuesday, September 7, the SaySo group visited the National Mall with stops at the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and the WWII and Korean Memorials. By mid-afternoon, the group was treated to a White House tour by representatives of Senator Richard Burr’s office. Our appreciation and thanks to Senator Burr’s staff for their kindness and hospitality.

It goes without saying, the memories created on this trip will last a lifetime. Wishes can come true!

Other SaySo News

  • In June the 2010-2011 Board of Directors participated in a team building ropes course and commissioning ceremony.
  • On October 23, SaySo Chapters from around the state participated in Make A Difference Day, collecting new duffel bags for all youths in foster care in their area.
  • Visit www.saysoinc.org for information about LINKS, SaySo events, educational tips, and ways to support SaySo.
  • If you have a group who would benefit from hearing a SaySo presentation, please contact Lauren Zingraff (800/820-0001). SaySo has a number of different topics that can be presented.

Copyright 2010 Jordan Institute for Families