How in the World Did I Pull This Off?

A younger, more energetic version of myself. The gentleman with me is Jamole Callahan. He’s been working with Ben Carson and HUD to ensure housing for aging out foster youth

Nine complete years. Seriously? Must have made a mistake, let me try again. Nine complete years. Yeah, that’s what it is. Nine of ‘em. Doesn’t sound right every time I say it. I remember thinking that I’d be happy to get a year out of this thing, say that I did it, and get back to selling cars or something.

Never, not once, did I think I’d still be sitting in front of this computer nine years later.

And yet, here I am and there you are. Fact is, if you ask me about any of this, I’d probably reply with the phrase I’ve used for all nine years; “Just wait. I haven’t done anything yet.”.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve achieved some things. Earned some awards. Passed some bench marks. Outlasted other magazines with bigger staffs and wallets. Made some noise. Got picked up by ESPN once. The D from Run DMC gave me an award and sang “Tricky” right at my face! Been to Broadway for foster care stuff. Been to the White House for the same reason. Been given awards and Proclamations. Hell, I even had a sandwich named after me at one point. But I still haven’t done anything yet.

I have big goals. Bigger stakes are at play for me.

Since the start of all of this I’ve had the world of foster care on my shoulders. I had to and have to do well so that the next foster kid has the confidence to try whatever their brain conjured up. Now, I’m not one hundred percent sure that what I’m doing will really have any kind of impact on future foster youth. I do know it is having an impact now. Articles from the magazine have found their way into the curriculum of some pretty big universities and colleges. Having an impact is important to me. I also think it’s important to foster care, that the product of a properly working system, produce positive impacts on the rest of the world. There are still decades of stigma to destroy. Every time one of us does something of note, an offender on Law & Order loses his foster care backstory. Not really, but you get the idea.

In addition to the possibly unwarranted pressure of proving the worth of an entire system on my shoulders, I have the need to prove the people who believe in me correct. I’ve had the good fortune of making more friends, colleagues and mentors than I can count. When I started this thing, people were so excited about it that I had no trouble being accepted. This magazine began at the same time the HBO show Game of Thrones, happy to say that my run hasn’t been nearly as dramatic as theirs. I outlasted them along with dozens of upstart magazines. I’ve been pretty vocal about my belief that this thing wouldn’t last beyond a year. I’m happy to still be around.

Now, let’s talk this issue and the present state of Foster Focus going in to Year 10.

As a whole, Foster Focus writers and columnists, walk the walk. (That’s a weird way to say that someone follows through, rather than just talking about what they’d do.) I’ve managed to build quite the impressive stable of writers. I also managed to wrangle some top-notch columnists. One of the aforementioned columnists has made some noise within the White House.

Human trafficking is at the top of Rhonda Sciortino’s mission statement. It’s been her passion since the day I met. So seriously does she take this issue, she’s penned a column about the subject for over five years. It’s more than the words she writes. She’s got a project called Love is Action, and action is what she took in the form of assisting in and Presidential Executive Order. She took her fight straight to the White House. She was part of a group advocates who lent their voice to this important act. Couldn’t be prouder of her work. She writes all about it in this month’s Connecting the Dots of Human Trafficking and Foster Care.

We’ve got some new writers this month. The Foster Focus family of writers continues to grow, even in Year10.

Lastly, and only because so many people have asked me about it, I’ll give you all a brief update. I’ve had some trouble adjusting to life with ailments. The pills have caused me to lose whole days to sleep. But I am getting better at controlling what’s wrong with me. In time, I’ll get the sleep thing figured out. It’s making me look bad, is my only real complaint. It’s frustrating, but I’ve been through worse. I’ll get better. Enjoy the issue. I’ll much more cheerful and more like myself next issue.