Episode 9: Helping Youth in Foster Care Find Their Gift

June 15, 2018

In this episode, Crystal Williams discusses the heartbreak she experienced when she lost her baby brother and when she entered foster care. At the age of six, Crystal chose to express her feelings about losing her baby brother in a poem. She shares her poem in today’s episode and explains how poetry has continued to serve as an outlet for her. You’ll then hear her desire for today’s youth to discover their own gifts and use them for good. Crystal also shares how adults positively transformed her experience in foster care and encouraged her to use her gifts to follow her dreams. As she chooses to come alongside today’s youth, Crystal is able to offer insight into effective ways to empower youth in foster care.

We are then joined by  Tom Lukasik. Tom brings his experience as a foster dad into his role as Vice President of Community Engagement at 4Kids of South Florida. Through the years, he and his wife, Linda, have fostered over 50 children and interacted with countless other children in and out of foster care. In this episode, he shares useful tips for empowering kids in foster care every day and into the future.

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Key Quote:

"It's fascinating to me that Miss Mitchell believed in something that I didn't even see in myself. I didn't even see or believe or know to believe that I could accomplish that type of goal. To have someone see gifts in you, to see talent in you and then be willing to invest in that is very powerful for any young person, regardless if they were in foster care or not. It's just powerful to have." - Crystal Williams, Former Foster Youth

Meet Our Guests

CRYSTAL WILLIAMS

Crystal entered foster care in Georgia at a young age. After a group home and multiple foster placements, Crystal aged out of the foster care system. Crystal graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in English/Creative Writing/Theater Studies and received her MBA from Georgia State University with a focus in organizational management. Crystal has served as a member of Georgia Governor’s Council for child welfare reform, she is certified in Life Stories® Theater curriculum, she is a founding member of an advocacy group for foster youth called Georgia EmpowerMEnt, is a young fellow for the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative and was a Fellow with the American India Foundation. Crystal travels the nation speaking as an advocate for foster children children and uses her gift of spoken word poetry to challenge and motivate audiences.

TOM LUKASIK

Tom currently serves as the Vice President of Community Engagement for 4Kids in South Florida and works to create advocates in churches and organizations in his area. Tom and his wife, Linda, have fostered over 50 children since 1994. In his advocacy work, Tom travels around the country to teach and to encourage churches to care for children in foster care. Tom has even spoken at the White House!