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Elizabeth Villa

Hello, my name is Elizabeth Villa! I am a former foster youth and a mom to a wonderful 6-year-old. I work as an organizing intern for the National Foster Youth Institute, a non-profit organization that empowers foster youth to advocate and meet with government officials to voice the needs of youth within the child welfare system. In addition, I am a chapter member of the California Youth Connection, a youth led organizing group that advocates for policy change amongst the California foster care system. Lastly, I am a youth ambassador for a policy project led by CSSP and funded by the Conrad Hilton Foundation. The project focuses on designing and implementing meaningful, anti-racist supports for transitioned-age youth.

As a young mother who raised herself and her son in a system with limited resources and who  struggled with many insecurities throughout life--my first-hand experiences have given me an inside view of what my community needs. My passion is in building a community that supports foster youth with equitable resources, community bonds, and a system of support that uplifts youth.

I applied for the mini fellowship because I am a really big fan of the work that Tu Eres Tu has done in the past and I want to contribute my voice to its future. 

I enjoy photography and poetry because I use these tools to explore myself, my identity, and my artistic side. For my mini fellowship I will be working with personal photographs and poetry. I believe art work is important for youth advocacy because it’s a way to express emotions and thoughts that sometimes can not be expressed through words.

My mini-zine campaign will focus on mental health and how it impacts the foster youth community--an ongoing problem within our community.  For my zine I want to create a body of work that shows how the foster care system took a big toll on my mental health and how I was able to overcome the darkest parts of my life. Mental health is a topic to continue to understand, advocate awareness for, and support, especially through art. 

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