Our Voices, Our Stories
The Department of Children and Families is pleased to share with you the latest advocacy project from Florida’s Children First (FCF) and Florida Youth SHINE (FYS) Our Voice, Our Stories – 2nd Series, a collection of 10 digital storytelling videos by Florida Youth SHINE.

Florida’s Children First is a statewide Child Advocacy organization established in 2002. In 2005, FCF created Florida Youth SHINE to empower youth to advocate on behalf of themselves and others. Florida Youth SHINE is a Youth Advocacy organization comprised of current and former foster youth ages 13-24, with fourteen Chapters across the state.

The ten youth from around the state of Florida came together for a 4-day workshop where staff from The Center for Digital Storytelling facilitated the storytelling experience. The youth told their own stories, and learned for the first time how to create and edit their own videos. This was an opportunity to give them a chance to share their stories, learn new skills, and let their truths be heard.

Each week we will post the latest Digital Story released from Florida Youth SHINE. For additional information about FCF and Florida Youth SHINE, visit http://www.floridaschildrenfirst.org/

December 21th - Week 10: Kosha
Hi my name is Kosha. I am a member of the Hillsborough Chapter of Florida Youth SHINE and am a student at Hillsborough Community College studying psychology. My dream is to get a doctorate degree. I am the oldest child of 13 siblings. I came into the system after experiencing homelessness while my mother was suffering from a mental illness. This really affected my family and me. My siblings were placed with their biological father and I was placed in foster care. It has been hard to reconnect as a family.
Creating a digital story was great because I could share my story and hear other’s share their stories. It allowed me to express myself in a way I have been trying to hide for a very long time. Now I can freely discuss my past without being very emotional. I loved the bond I formed with others that participated.
I hope you enjoy my digital story.

December 14th - Week 9: Miracle
Hi my name is Miracle Thomas and I am 20 years old. I attend Indian River College and am studying Pharmacy. I am a member of the Treasure Coast Chapter of Florida Youth SHINE. I was born into foster care and placed in relative care where I stayed for 11 years. In that placement, I was abused mentally and physically by my caregiver. I was then placed in foster homes at the age of 15 until I aged out. Because of the abuse I was hurt and confused and lacked motivation to do anything. I wasn’t concerned about my future. However, that changed when I was placed in a loving foster home and met people in the system that pushed me and supported my success.
Participating in Digital stories was a healing process for me that I didn’t know I needed. I want people to know that it only takes one person to change a life and no matter what you go through it is never too late to start healing.
I hope you enjoy my story.

Click to view Taj's Story (week 8)
Click to view Tiervondria's Story (week 7)
Click to view KaDeidra's Story (week 6)
Click to view Juan's Story (week 5)
Click to view Danielle's Story (week 4)
Click to view Marty's Story (week 3)
Click to view Anna's Story (week 2)
Click to view Cameron's Story (week 1)