YLAT Training & Skill Building
Throughout each YLAT year, young people are offered the opportunity to attend a variety of training to deepen their skills and increase their knowledge in the areas of public speaking, sharing their stories, and advocacy. YLAT works closely with OCFS’s Transition Specialist"s to identify the training and skill-building topics to focus on each year.
In addition, training, strategies, and tools are also provided to increase youth’s participation and confidence related to these areas.
At monthly YLAT groups, skill-building is built into the content of the meeting, and young people are provided the opportunity to practice these skills through participation in group activities and discussions.
Transitioning from a YLAT participant to a YLAT leader!
YLAT brings together young people who are currently or formerly in foster care. YLAT youth leaders bring their own leadership potential, strengthen their leadership skills and broaden their network of support.
Youth leaders apply their leadership skills through participating in YLAT meetings; speaking in public about foster care; delivering panel presentations for caseworkers, foster parents, Guardians ad Litem, and community members; advocating for youth in care; and informing child welfare policies and legislation. Youth leaders and adult partners give and receive support while taking on these important roles.
This is a chance for youth to increase their skills outside of annual training. The annual Teen Conference offers another opportunity for youth to deepen their skills and be exposed to valuable resources and tools to assist them in their daily lives.
What is it?
Strategic sharing is a framework and a tool for how to share your personal experiences and stories in a way that is meaningful, respectful, and safe—both for you and for the people (audience) hearing your story. Ideally, sharing your personal experiences can educate, influence, inspire, and make a difference to those you share with. When thinking about what you want to share, three strategies will help you be effective and safe when doing so: Choose, Claim, and Connect.
Are there any risks?
Talking about our personal experiences carries some risks. Sharing can leave us exposed and can sometimes make our listeners uncomfortable.
Self-disclosure (or sharing information about yourself) is a lot like clothing - too much can make us sweaty and uncomfortable while too little can leave us vulnerable and unprotected. Think about how we choose what to wear. We dress to be comfortable with ourselves and around other people. We dress to present ourselves a certain way, and we usually are more comfortable when we’re dressed for the occasion—meaning that we fit in with the way everyone else is dressed.
If we dress differently from others, we want that to be our choice. Have you ever had the experience of arriving dressed up at an event you thought was formal only to find everyone else in shorts and jeans or the other way around? Likewise, we share information in order to present ourselves to fit in comfortably with other people. We’re usually most comfortable when the level of self-disclosure is balanced. Sometimes when we share to educate, inform, and influence, the self-disclosure is not balanced and it can feel like showing up wearing the wrong clothes.
When strategic sharing goes wrong, it can feel manipulative or exploitative and lead to harmful consequences. It’s about making good choices about how we tell our life stories so that our voices can be heard, our message is effective, and our well-being is protected. Learn more about Advocating for Yourself.