Alayna Leonard has been selected to participate in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Youth Leadership Institute. It’s a week long training offered through the national philanthropy’s Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative. She is at student at Indiana University – Bloomington.
The 20-year-old currently holds a leadership position on the Indiana Youth Advisory Board administered by Foster Success and has traveled to Washington, D.C. to represent Indiana youth placed in foster care. She also represented Indiana during Jim Casey’s Activating Youth Engagement Summit, worked with local judges to train them on the experiences of foster youth and is leading efforts in creating a peer navigator program for foster youth.
YLI provides an opportunity for young leaders who have lived in foster care to develop their advocacy skills and build relationships to strengthen local and national efforts to ensure those transitioning from foster care have the relationships, resources and opportunities to promote their well-being and success.
Upon completing YLI, the young leaders may elect to become a Jim Casey Young Fellow and join this cadre of youth who apply their leadership and advocacy skills to informing Casey’s nationwide efforts to improve outcomes for youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood. Young Fellows play an important role in developing Casey’s strategies and recommendations for improving child welfare systems, while leading and supporting local advocacy work in their home states.