Vol. 16, No. 1 • November 2011

Getting to Know SaySo

by Lauren Zingraff, SaySo Program Coordinator

SaySo’s Assistant Program Coordinator
Chaney Stokes is a former foster youth who has been involved with SaySo since she was 15 years old. She entered foster care during her freshman year of high school and was in and out of care through her senior year. Chaney graduated from high school in 2004. She served on the SaySo board of directors for several years, representing Region 6. Chaney transitioned into the position of a SaySo Regional Assistant, and became our first Assistant Program Coordinator in August 2010. Chaney hopes to be involved in making positive changes that will help to improve the foster care system. Chaney is a wonderful example of not allowing your past to determine your future. She wants to continue to be an inspiration to other young people. Please say hello to Chaney when you see her at SaySo events across the state!

Become a SaySo Regional Assistant
SaySo Regional Assistants (SRAs) are alumni of substitute care who provide regional support for SaySo. These part-time, paid positions promote and enhance local chapter development, speaking engagements, and other LINKS events. Having regional representatives helps SaySo support local chapters and recruit members and community supporters statewide. With SRAs, SaySo has begun the process of developing an alumni response to the call for “follow up” action after a young person leaves foster care.

Some of the experiences our SaySo Regional Assistants have had include serving on our board of directors, participating at SaySo functions, and working as legislative pages at the NC General Assembly. Our SRAs have also made presentations at Court Improvement Conferences, the annual foster and adoptive parent conference, training for judges, Guardian ad Litem orientations, and gatherings of future lawyers and social workers.

Currently we are seeking SRAs in regions 1, 2, 5, and 6. Applicants must be between the ages of 18-26, have reliable transportation, and pass a criminal background check.

Interested? Contact Lauren Zingraff ([email protected]; 800/820-0001).

SaySo Local Chapters
SaySo is excited to announce new chapters in Randolph and Gaston counties. We now have 24 local chapters across North Carolina. Chapters represent youths from a specific region, agency, or group home. Local chapters are very important to SaySo: they provide a place for SaySo members to meet and help support the mission and bylaws of SaySo. They also contribute through:

Fundraising. There have been bake sales, car washes, even presentations to local churches. SaySo is a 501C-3 organization, so contributions are tax-deductible. Local chapters decide what to do with the money they raise. In the past chapters have used funds to support local activities (e.g., a pizza party or field trip), to purchase needed items for youth in foster care (e.g., duffle bags/backpacks), and to support SaySo Corporate, which helps fund annual statewide events such as SaySo Saturday and SaySo Survivor.

Community service. We have been very successful each year with the “Make a Difference Day” campaign, which is held nationally on the 4th Saturday of October. For many years we have held the “Give a Child a Smile” suitcase campaign for youth in foster care. We hold an annual event here at our headquarters in Durham and several of our chapters also have corresponding suitcase drives. Other chapter community service activities include volunteering at soup kitchens, collecting food for local food banks, and helping to build Habitat for Humanity houses.

Advocacy. SaySo’s motto is “Speaking Out Today, While Making Changes for Tomorrow.” In keeping with this, SaySo youth speak out at local DSS agencies, court conferences, churches, foster and adoptive parent training, and college social work classes. Through local chapters, we have had young people featured in the newspaper and on the radio.
Chaney Stokes has been instrumental in starting several chapters across the state. It’s easy to do—you only need a few people to get going! Chaney would be happy to help you start a chapter; contact her at [email protected] or 800/820-0001.

Visit Us Online
SaySo has recently upgraded its website! You can find out all the latest SaySo news and happenings, as well as register for one of our many events. Our annual events include “Teen Future Link-Up” conferences, “It’s My Transition” workshops, SaySo Saturday, Legislative Page Week, and SaySo Survivor. Through our site you can meet the SaySo team, including our youth board of directors and adult supporters. Check it out at www.saysoinc.org.

SaySo Regions in North Carolina
Entries with asterisks (*) have local SaySo chapters.

1. Mountains

Alexander
Alleghany
Ashe
Avery
Buncombe
Burke
*Caldwell
*Catawba
Cherokee
Clay
*Crossnore
Graham
Haywood
Henderson
Jackson
Macon
Madison
McDowell
Mitchell
Polk
Rutherford
Swain
Transylvania
Watauga
Wilkes
Yancey

2. Charlotte Area

Cabarrus
Cleveland
*Gaston
Lincoln
*Mecklenburg
*Rowan
Stanley
*Union

3. Triad

*Alamance
Caswell
Davidson
Davie
*Forsyth
Franklin
Granville
*Guilford
Person
*Randolph
Rockingham
*Stokes
*Surry
Vance
Warren
Yadkin

4. Triangle

Anson
Bladen
Chatham
*Cumberland
*Durham
Harnett
Hoke
Johnson
Lee
Montgomery
*Moore
*Orange
Richmond
*Robeson
Sampson
Scotland
*Wake

5. Northeast

Beaufort
Bertie
Camden
Chowan
Currituck
Dare
Edgecombe
Gates
Greene
*Halifax
Hertford
Hyde
Martin
Nash
Northhampton
Pasquotank
Perquimans
*Pitt
Tyrrell
Washington
*Wayne
Wilson

6. Southeast

Brunswick
Carteret
Columbus
*Craven
Duplin
Jones
Lenoir
New Hanover
*Onslow
Pamilco
Pender

Copyright 2011 Jordan Institute for Families