Claudia Mendez

Claudia Mendez

Claudia Mendez was born in San Francisco and is currently 19 years old. Accomplishing her personal and academic goals is a big priority in Claudia’s life. She attends San Francisco State University as a full-time student, volunteers in different community based organizations and is also an EYAB member for the 2009 board. Joining EYAB has made her really happy because it is a job where she can express her commitment to making a difference not only in foster youth’s lives, but in youth lives in general. Claudia’s biggest goal is that in a few years she will be going to Law School to become a lawyer for foster youth. How she got inspired to become a lawyer was when she entered the system and got a lawyer assigned to her. Her lawyer was a great example of a committed lawyer who cared because she would constantly meet with Claudia to make sure that her needs were being heard and met. Even after Claudia’s emancipation her lawyer is still involved in her life and helps her in anything she can. This is exactly what Claudia would like to do in her career. Being older now and knowing how it feels to be mistreated, put down, abused, ignored and seen as insignificant is what makes Claudia passionate about advocating for youth because she believes that she can make a difference. To be a former foster youth has been hard because she has to deal with negative stereotypes against foster youth, but she is able to overcome them because she tries to see the positive things in life instead of always focusing on the negative ones. She knows she is really strong and is proud to be a former youth, a young Latina woman, and most importantly to be her. “I am no longer alone because I have found my family, which is my foster parents, counselors and friends. Last, but not least someone special, my own self because I am my best friend.”

Articles By Claudia Mendez:

Training to a Group of San Francisco State MSW Students

On March 22nd the EYAB team facilitated our Mental Health Alternatives for Foster Youth to a group of MSW students in San Francisco State University. It was the first time we had done this training and we are happy to say it went really well. The audience participated and was very interested in the material we were sharing with them. Personally, I am really happy because I was able to share my curriculum with students who are soon going to become social workers and will be working directly with foster youth.

March 22nd – Protest in Sacramento

March 22nd – Protest in Sacramento

The fight to protect public education is still alive after March 4th. Many students, teachers and supporters came together on March 22, 2010 to protest in Sacramento and tell our representatives that we are unhappy with the budget cuts that have been and are still being made to our education.

Some of the struggles and issues faced by students because of these cuts are:

  • Students cannot get the classes they need to finish their General Requirements, let alone meet the requirements for their selected majors. 
  • The budget cuts do not only affect the amount of dollars received by students on financial aid, but it also jeopardizes whether they can receive aid at all.  A lot of financial aid is tied to how many units a student can enroll in, if classes are not offered students cannot get the units they need to receive credits and ultimately financial aid. In order for a student to receive financial aid they need to be enrolled 12 units, which is a full time student, but how can student fulfill this requirement if there are not enough classes for them to do so?
  •  The classes which are being offered are often at capacity.  It is sad to see classmates sit on the floor or stand during class time because there are not enough seats, since the classes have more students enrolled than they can handle.
  • We have mandatory furlough days because the schools can no longer pay teachers as many days as they used to.  As a result teachers are forced to take essential materials out of their curriculum.
  • The school is offering fewer Majors because it cannot afford them anymore.
  • Students are working many jobs just to be able to pay the raise in tuition, books that have raised their prices, then everything else: housing, transportation, and so on.
  • Even though services have been reduced, the average SFSU student is now paying $2,370 per semester.  This is an increase of more than $400 dollars per semester.  WE ARE PAYING MORE AND RECEIVING LESS!

I am disgusted and feel sad at the fact that my friends and I have to go through these struggles when all we want is an education and when we are paying so much money. This is why I got up at 5am to go to be able to leave with buses that San Francisco State University provided at 6:00am. I loved the fact that although we did not know everyone and that I had never heard about some of the schools that were there that we came together as one to tell our governor that we are not happy with the cuts made to our education and that we are not going to stop fighting until he stops making cuts. I hope to see more events like this, so that that we can create more awareness of what is happening with our public education and that our governor sees that he cannot deprive us from the great education we deserve. I know that as long we continue being persistent more students will come together and join the cause because they will see the importance of standing up for their rights and the rights of the younger generations. STUDENTS UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!!!

Protect Foster Youth From Identity Theft

Protect Foster Youth From Identity Theft

Foster youth are in risk of having their identity stolen by friends, family members or well anyone. The exact number of foster youth who have had their identity stolen is not known, but “some think that as many as half of the 84,000 kids in California’s system may have been victimized.” (Pathways1, 2010)

Here are some tips from California Office of Privacy Protection to help foster youth protect themselves from identity theft:

Turnout of March 4th -March 4 Day of Action and Strike in Defense of Public Education – California

Turnout of March 4th -March 4 Day of Action and Strike in Defense of Public Education – California

My name is Claudia Mendez and I am one of HEY’s EYAB the reason for my message today is to share in my point of view how March 4th Day of Action and Strike in Defense of Public Education – California turned out. As you may have seen on the news students, parents, faculty and supporters of public education came together on March 4th to speak up against the cuts that have been done to public education in California.

EYAB Alumni

 
[From Claudia Mendez, HEY's EYAB]In our efforts to update the community about the continuous work or our EYAB team after their service here at HEY we are launching our “Where Are They Now” Alumni Page. Our EYAB 2009/2010 has taken it upon themselves to connect with all of our EYAB Alumni and Staff and they [...]

HEY’s EYAB had an excellent training for Jewish Vocational Services

HEY’s EYAB had an excellent training for Jewish Vocational Services

On January 13, 2010 the HEY team facilitated a training for Jewish Vocational Services, called Best Practices for Employers Working with Foster Youth. The goal for this training was to help the participants to see that despite facing complex barriers, foster youth are able to achieve and succeed in the workplace when matched with supervisors who set realistic expectations and provide supports that allow for a learning curve.

In order to accomplish our goal some of the different topics we talked about were: the general overview of the foster care system in SF County, common challenges faced by foster youth and strategies for successfully working with foster youth in the workplace.

Personally I was touched by seeing how many different service providers wanted to learn about foster youth and the challenges they face so, that they can try to give them more support. I was extremely happy to be able to assist Leslie Brown, HEY’s Program Coordinator, with this training because I did not only be able to share my experience as a former foster youth with the participants, but also was able to grow in a professional level. Noticing how Leslie created and facilitated her training gave me ideas of how I can become a better facilitator myself.

The outcome turned out pretty good. The participants were happy with what they learned and were interested in attending more HEY training soon.

HEY’s Holiday Suggestions To Help Foster Youth

HEY’s Holiday Suggestions To Help Foster Youth

Holidays are days when families and friends come together to be thankful for one another and celebrate the happiness they have of having their loved ones around them, but for many current and former foster youth these are days that bring up traumatic emotions. HEY’s Emancipated Youth Advocacy Board (EYAB), decided to come up with a short list of ways that someone can help a youth during the holidays so that they too can enjoy them.

To download Flyer, Click here

Fostering Art’s Annual Pin-up Show and Holiday Party

Fostering Art’s Annual Pin-up Show and Holiday Party

Fostering Art is having their annual show and holiday party. It is going to be an event for people come and see their students photography and also be able to just socialize. There will be food, free portraits and a card making station. If you are free tuesday 15 from 5-7 pm please joing us.

Details:
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
5-7pm
2500 18th st, 3rd Floor San Francisco, CA. 94110
(Also click on pictures on left, to see more details)

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