Chance of a lifetime for foster teens

Each year during the legislative session, the Florida Legislature sponsors high school students from throughout the state to participate in its week-long House Page and Messenger and Senate Page programs. Challenges such as finding 2015a sponsor, foster care-approved housing, and travel and living expenses prevented teens living in foster care from ever dreaming they might participate.

Believing the legislature needs to get to know youth in the state's foster care system, that foster teens should have every opportunity afforded to other kids their ages, and that any youth, once inspired, will grow up to make a difference, Children's Home Society of Florida developed a grant program to offer foster youth the chance to become a Messenger or Page. Since 2009, nearly 50 youth have been awarded grants and received staff and volunteer support to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

As Pages and Messengers, our foster youth have learned firsthand about their government at work, met elected officials and appointed leaders, and even testified before committees about their experiences in Florida's foster care system. During their Tallassee tours, youth work for and fulfill assignments under the guidance of their legislative sponsors. Interested in official details? Check out House Page and Messenger and Senate Page programs.

For more information on Children's Home Society of Florida's grant program for foster youth, please contact Summer Pfeiffer, Vice President of Governmental Relations, at (850) 921-0772.

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