Dedicated YLAT alumni may co-facilitate district YLAT meetings. Alumni co-facilitators are identified as community leaders and serve as role models for YLAT youth, encourage positive relationships between group members, and foster an environment that promotes learning.
Huyanna Clearwater – Huyanna spent most of her life in and out of the Child Welfare system here in Maine. Huyanna is a Native American and struggled while in foster care to keep her cultural connections. This experience drives her passion and commitment to improving the Child Welfare System for native and non-native youth in the state and the nation. Eleven years ago a friend told Huyanna that she worked with a local group of youth who improved the foster care system and Huyanna has been a leader in YLAT ever since. Currently, Huyanna is attending college at UMA-Bangor and majoring in Social Science with a focus in Psychology. Huyanna’s hope is to one day work for the National Indian Child Welfare Association.
Carleigh Boston – Carleigh has been involved with YLAT since she was 14 years old! Staying involved in YLAT is important to Carleigh because she wants to continuously make positive changes within the system. She believes that “the system is flawed and damage but youth in foster care are not.” Carleigh works at a health and wellness store and lives to change the lives of her guests. She is also studying social work at the University of Southern Maine. After college, Carleigh plans to continue making changes in the child welfare system through policy. Carleigh is also a Jim Casey Young Fellow with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and has the honor of advocating on behalf of youth in care in Maine. If you’re ever interested in what youth are changing in other states, Carleigh is the person to ask!
Chrystal Inman – When Chrystal was 13 years old she entered the foster care system. During her time in care things were not ideal, she moved several times and didn’t have the kind of support a young person should have. Chrystal wants to be involved in this work so other young people can have a different and better experience than she had. Chrystal first began attending YLAT as a way to get of her house for a few hours when she was 14 years old and living in a group home. Over time, YLAT became much more to Chrystal and even now that her life is in a better place, she still wouldn’t want to miss out on a meeting. Currently, Chrystal spends most of her time working at Hannaford, where she is striving to move up in the company. She also received her CNA certificate this past spring. In the future, Chrystal hopes to go back to school to earn a college degree. She would also like to continue her work both locally and nationally to benefit Maine’s Child Welfare System.
Faith Mishkin – Faith found YLAT during a time she was struggling to have her voice be heard in decisions about her own life. This changed for Faith when she was asked to participate in a training for foster parents where she felt heard and felt that she was helping others. Eventually Faith attended a YLAT meeting and she immediately became attached. Faith wants to be an Alumni Co-Facilitator because of her past experiences “I would never want another person to go through the same things I went through; I think we all deserve to be loved and cared for.” She hopes that all youth entering foster care have an easy transition and that they develop great family relationships and friendships. Faith is planning to return to college for Marine Sciences and hopes to eventually become a veterinarian. In addition to co-facilitation, she works two jobs that keep her very busy. Her hopes are to travel the world with her love ones, be successful in her career, have her own family, and continue to work with and develop connections to youth in care.
Ivy Neher – Ivy is a former youth in care who is now adopted. When Ivy was approached to be an Alumni Co-Facilitator, she felt compelled to help with what she describes as a “noble cause”. Ivy feels like she can be an asset to youth because she knows what it is like to be put into the care of the state. In the past, Ivy has participated in panel presentations, where she expressed some of her experiences and she hopes to continue to help make the system better for current and future youth in foster care. Currently, Ivy is a college student, majoring in liberal studies with a minor in psychology and she hopes to have a successful career and life ahead of her. In her spare time Ivy likes to write, sing, and play guitar.