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Marie Brañes

I am a graduate student at San Diego State University (SDSU), where I am completing my M.A. in Education with a concentration in Counseling. In addition to being a student, I am also a work readiness mentor at a San Diego non-profit called SBCS. Lastly, I am taking on a Graduate Assistant position with SDSU for our Guardian Scholars program--a foster youth support program located on our college campus.

I have learned a lot from identifying as a former foster youth, managing depression/anxiety, and living with Multiple Sclerosis(MS), these are only parts of me that do not define who I am but shape me. I find it empowering to use both my lived and work experiences to shape my perspective. They continue to fuel my passion for advocacy, wellness and education for oppressed populations, especially foster youth.

I enjoy writing poetry to express my feelings as I find it to be a space where I can be vulnerable while processing and understanding my emotions. I feel that writing has helped with my healing/recovery process. Having a way to express yourself is vital for both healing/recovery and processing. If you are unable to express yourself, I find things can weigh you down. Foster Youth advocacy is important because there is a need for improvement and development within services, resources, systems and policies.  I beleive that all systems need to be changed, change is vital to end the cycle of negative foster youth statistics.

I am still becoming more comfortable with sharing my writing, due to the fact that I am being very vulnerable and sharing parts of myself with the world. I hope to share a bit more of my creative side while being  vulnerable. I have been waiting to share my work and I feel that the Mini Fellowship is a great place to start.

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