by Jamie Lee Evans and Yeshi Vaughan
Yeshi running at a high school track meet.
Foster Youth Museum’s Lost Childhood’s exhibition will be up at Santa Clara University for public viewing April 30 – May 12, 2023. Since the Covid-19 global pandemic hit the world in 2020, we have been waiting patiently for the opportunity to safely gather again. In honor of Foster Care Awareness Month and with the support from PivotalNow (www.pivotalnow.org) Lost Childhoods can be seen, free of charge, from 10 am to 6 pm during its run.
In 2019, I met the formidable young foster youth advocate, Yeshi Vaughan, at the National Foster Youth Institute’s Shadow Day in Washington DC. Yeshi told me a little of her foster care story and I told her about Foster Youth Museum (FYM). It was clear from the beginning that running track was an empowering part of Yeshi’s life. When she said she wanted to donate her running shoes to FYM we were so excited to include her story in our Transformation and Hope section. Yeshi’s running shoes and family photograph will exhibit for the first time ever in this show. Yeshi’s moving story in her own words is below.
Yes, She Can and She Did.
When I was younger I loved watching the Olympics on TV. Because Ethiopians and Kenyans run so fast and I was fascinated by it. I lived in many situations where I was not given the opportunity to participate in any sports. The end of my freshman year of high school I went into foster care and was given many new opportunities I did not have before. I got the chance to run starting my sophomore year of high school and received a scholarship to run at the college level. It was a dream come true! I thought running was very easy until I tried it myself. It takes a lot of dedication of your time and hard work. Running ended up being a good coping mechanism and a way to relieve stress. My running shoes represent the many accomplishments I received through running. They represent, hard work, dedication, and the ability to overcome difficult situations. No matter what you go through in life keep looking for something that brings you joy. There is always a bright side to life, so not give up trying to look for it! My foster mom was dedicated to support me through my running journey. She drove me to all of my practices even very early in the morning and came to all of my meets to cheer me on. She became my adopted mom during my junior year of high school and is still cheering me on in life and all my accomplishments!
Yeshi’s dedicated foster mom Darlonna, now adoptive mom, showed up at all of Yeshi’s track meets to cheer her on.
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