Reflections on the Public Opening of Foster Youth Museum
By Jamie Lee Evans, Co-director
My heart won’t stop racing and my head can’t calm itself long enough for me to explain or understand why I have found myself in near or complete tears since the public opening of Foster Youth Museum. Is it something about being seen? Is it pride or exhaustion at the culmination of a long project? Is it expectation and hope that Lost Childhoods will open hearts in a way that can have a new and lasting impact on foster youth?
I felt weak in the knees during our opening, particularly when I talked about the history of the Museum and how it started during a curriculum jam session with six other former foster youth. I feel so much gratitude when I recall sitting among this group of former foster youth who were constructing answers to the problems that broke our hearts and spirits as children, to be actively working to right wrongs that had cost us so much.
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Fostering Truth: Exposing Lies and Exploring Strength
Today we began installing Lost Childhoods at Warehouse 416 in Oakland. I’ve been part of Foster Youth Museum from the beginning – from the first moment the idea was born – so I found myself surprised that seeing items we started collecting in 2007 were choking me up like it was the first time I’d laid eyes on them. Truth is, this is the first time the general public will lay eyes on Foster Youth Museum (FYM), and for that reason alone, it is a little like I’m seeing the items for the first time, and feeling the impact anew.
What is so compelling about FYM are the stories behind the artifacts and art. Each of us who works on FYM has one item that impacts us the most. For me, it is the toilet paper sanitary pad.
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For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Annie Gardiner / firstname.lastname@example.org / 510.339.1363
Media Preview: Thursday, March 5, 5:00 PM
Foster Youth Museum Presents First Public Exhibit: Lost Childhoods
March 6 – March 29, 2015
Exhibition Location: Warehouse 416, 416 26th Street, Oakland, CA
First Friday: Friday, March 6, 6:00-10:00 PM
February 19, 2015 – Oakland, CA – Foster Youth Museum presents a groundbreaking exhibit about youth experiences in foster care. Through photos, donated objects, video portraits, and foster youth art, Lost Childhoods tells the story of loss and powerlessness – and the human capacity for resilience and connection.
Visitors may be surprised by some of the artifacts that youth have chosen to save and share, from the hefty case reports that follow foster youth from placement to placement, to letters from incarcerated loved ones. In the words of contributor, Sophia Herman, “It’s so important for foster youth to have documentation of their experiences. Lost Childhoods validates our existence.”
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