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Culinary Fundraiser Cooks Up Support for Renowned Advocacy Group

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By John Kelly

At the fourth annual Culinary Inspirations fundraiser last week, 17 current and former foster youths will be paired with area chefs to benefit the oldest youth-led child welfare advocacy organization in the country.

California Youth Connection, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that give foster youth a voice in the legislative process on laws regarding foster care, turned 25 this year. The fundraisers supports CYC’s state-wide network of youth-led advocacy groups.

One of the youths involved in this year’s fete is Kahmaria Holleman, a student at Sacramento City College. She is working with Arlene Hylton, a San Francisco Dept. of Human Services employee who also owns her own catering business, on a jerk chicken dish with macaroni and cheese.

“I was taken away from my mom at birth and lived with many family members, but wasn’t ever put in legal guardianship with a foster parent until my 15th birthday,” said Holleman, in the organization’s press release about the event. “I didn’t understand it. But once that happened, I finally felt like I was loved, and wanted. I felt like [I] was part of a real family.”

First printed by the Chronicle of Social Change (CSC), an online periodical covering juvenile justice, child welfare and other industries that should be strengthening youth and families. The CSC is run by Fostering Media Connections, a San Francisco-based organization that uses journalism and media to drive public and political will behind policy and practice to improve the well being of children experiencing foster care. Visit www.fosteringmediaconnections.org for more information.

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