Back to homepage

Former Foster Youth Staff

The most powerful aspect of ASOH is that our entire staff are all former foster youth — who have been recipients of A Sense of Home and are now stewards of a movement to empower their peers to become the best version of themselves. Youth are required to pay it forward and create homes for their peers & thereby immersing them further in the community.

 

A Sense of Home is committed to filling our jobs with former foster youth.

Shawn Honoré

I am Shawn Honoré, a visionary. I am also a former foster youth & I have experienced first hand the impact that ASOH has on the community. Before I came on board with A Sense of Home, I witnessed this life changing organization. As I witnessed & learned more about the organization I knew that I was experiencing something with the potential to not only provoke change in the Foster Care System but to also provoke change in the world.

Growing up in the foster care system is an experience at this age that I wouldn’t change. That may sound very strange but I can say the tough experiences and rough upbringing definitely shaped me into the man I am today. I grew up in South Central Los Angeles , which is a breeding ground for drugs, gang violence , and sexual abuse. These negative forces coupled with no real family presence for guidance can make for some very tough situations for an adolescent. These are all forces that were always ever present in my upbringing but what made me rise above all the negative surrounding me was my thirst for a better life and environment. I made great friends growing up that came from better households and families than myself and I used them as a model for what I someday wanted to obtain for my future family and myself. At a young age I was forced to grow up and make adult decisions that I knew would affect my life forever.

Today, I am 25 years old and I intend to be a instrument of change in my community. I am driven to share my story of resilience and hope with other foster youth in hopes to break the statistics facing my brothers and sisters. Although, we don’t have a strong family background, and we have to sacrifice our childhood in order to learn survival techniques, we are better and stronger because of it. I intend to show youth that college and other opportunities are on the horizon if you stay true to your beliefs and have a good moral compass as I did.

    Loren Elam

    Operations Manager

    The road to success was worth every bit of the journey that it has taken for me to get here. There were times I thought “How long does this journey take”. One day I woke up to realize that the journey doesn’t stop, there isn’t a time limit to how far you can succeed in your lifetime. As a former foster youth I have learned that the most important ingredient to becoming a somebody is to ignore the naysayers and to beat the odds. Hand in hand in this journey by my side, I have always looked to my baby sister Yolanda for guidance and strength to overcome the obstacles we had to face at such a early age. Losing our mother at the ages of 8 months and 2 years old along with an abusive father and his abusive wife didn’t create much hope in our hearts for a bright future ahead of us. To walk this life side by side with my little sister has been uplifting and profound in every way possible. I now have a beautiful family of my own -- a wonderful wife and two beautiful daughters ( age 12 & 5) that I will forever show love and support to. (Something I’ve never had growing up). I kiss them every night and cherish each moment as they continue to grow into the beautiful young ladies they are and become that role model that we as children so desperately need. I found my gift with music and warehouse logistics management over the years to find my place as an individual with a purpose. Joining A Sense Of Home has taught me to challenge my inner emotions of fear and mistrust and point it towards the greater good. This isn’t just a job! This is my purpose! My purpose to show my gratitude for the journey, my purpose to gain each youth’s trust in sharing my story to say “Hey I understand, I have been right where you are” my purpose to say “Beat the odds” my purpose to say “Take my hand and lets travel this journey together” because at the end of the day we all have a story, there is no difference between you or I. The only difference is “who’s willing to create one”. Attached is our theme song, “Home” -- that I interpreted and performed. Together, we sing it at most every home creation during the housewarming portion of a home creation. It is the most important moment – when we celebrate the youth for beating the odds. I hope you enjoy.

      Yolanda Elam 

      Program Director

      I started this journey over a year ago and boy it has been a journey! As a little girl I always wanted to do something meaningful and passionate with my life. After overcoming obstacles and challenging circumstances I am finally able to do what I love. I am no longer ashamed to say I am a former foster youth and share my story. After being apart of the ASOH community it has enabled me to feel empowered and own who I am. I feel honored to have a platform to share my story and help create change. I have learned so much in such a short period of time and feel so grateful to work with people who care, respect, and encourage me to be the best person I can be. What’s so special is I’m apart of a movement that is much bigger then myself and the journey is just beginning.

        Mike Jelks

        Resource Coordinator/ Warehouse Supervisor

        My name is Mike Jelks and I am a Former Foster youth and an employee at ASOH. I believe success isn't measured by the things you obtain but by how much you accomplish in helping others. Something I've learned here at ASOH. I have been working here at ASOH for a little over a year now, what a journey is had been . My work at ASOH has been the most meaningful work of my life but in the same breathe the most challenging. My job here requires me to grow and adapt on a weekly basis. One of my jobs is to connect one on one with donors to build bridges between two communities — those who can give and those who need a hand up (not a hand out). I am also head of the warehouse where I and other team members ensure that our donated warehouse space is clean, safe, and kept up to date in a professional order. Other tasks I handle are, updating our inventory system, keeping all youth logged into our database, and connect with youth prior and after we've done a home creation for them. Additionally, I will be organizing donations in the warehouse and ensure we have all needed furniture for impending youth home creations. I work for the sake of our youths. I want to serve them with our resources and provide opportunity and aid to those who are forgotten in our community.

          Romana Vera

          Content Director

          Who am I?
          I am a resilient, powerful, tenacious, independent, empathetic, and compassionate person that has and will continue to defy the stigma imposed on foster youth by the system. I am a breaker of negative cycles, a leader, an artist and will never stop being a student of life. I am a firm believer that that our challenges shape the person we are today, but our past doesn’t define our being.

          I am honored to be an active member of a movement that helps reframe the conversation around former foster youth. We serve to empower and inspire our community through our stories, music, and most importantly LOVE.

            Sashauna Dent

            Social Media Director

            I am a role model, a visionary, a travel enthusiast, and a lover of life.

            Since joining A Sense Of Home I've been challenged to become the best version of myself. Finding my voice, sharing my story and using it to be the voice of the voiceless, telling the stories of the youth we serve.

            At a very young age I managed to overcome an environment fueled with substance dependency, physical, and emotional abuse. I have had to fulfill the role of a parent staying strong and responsible for the safety of my siblings. I became the anchor that tethers my family together, putting my needs on the back burner all in the effort to be the savior for everyone. This past year I’ve been learning how to live for me. My journey has just begun.

            It is such an honored to be a vital part of a movement that helps reshape the statistics surrounding foster youth, and provides former foster youth with essentials to become the best versions of themselves.

              Donate Now!

              Donate Online

              To make a PayPal donation simply click below.


              Donate

               

              Donate By Mail

              If you’d rather send a check, please make it out to A Sense of Home and mail to:

              A Sense of Home
              4712 Admiralty Way #1203, Marina del Rey, CA 90292

              A Sense of Home is a tax exempt charitable organization qualified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Tax ID# 47-3814056.

              Follow Us!

              Sign Up for Our Newsletter!