2018 Learning AFAR Girls’ Foster Program

Meet Some Participants


Yesenia CJ
Age 17

My name is Yesenia. I am 17 Years old and I was born in Naples, Florida. I was in the foster system for almost eight years before I was adopted in March of 2017 and I now live with my four brothers and two sisters.

I attend Palmetto Ridge High School and am in the 10th grade. At school, I am a very eager learner and I always work hard to get As and Bs in my classes. My favorite subjects in school are biology and math and I have even received an award called the President’s Award for Excellence in Math.

I attend the First Baptist Church of Naples. I was a summer missionary for the past four years with Child Evangelism Fellowship and we taught the 5-Day Clubs through CYIA (Christian Youth in Action).

My favorite things to do include drawing, listening to music, reading, cheering and attending youth group. I would love to go to Southern Florida Lakesville to go for my degree in veterinary medicine. I am very involved in my community and have volunteered with Friends of Foster Children, because I know how important it is to help others without judgement.

I think I will be a good fit for the Learning AFAR Program because I am outgoing and easygoing. I transition well in different situations, and I am friendly and honest. I am beyond grateful to be able to participate in this program. I would love to share with other girls who have been in the system that they too can overcome the statistics of the foster system.

students kayaking on LearningAFAR high school summer travel programs

Rose T.
Age 16

Hi, my name is Rose and I am in 10th grade. I am currently 16 years old and uphold the presidential chair for Florida Youth Shine. I have two brothers and three sisters and we are currently living in a group home away from our family. My brothers and sisters are amazing and I love them to death.

At school I am a very thoughtful and hardworking student. I always try my best to learn from my mistakes and excel in subjects like history, science and math. I also love helping out the community by feeding the homeless or advocating for kids within the system. As for my hobbies, whatever activities I pursue I always try to challenge myself and always strive to be my best. I love to read, be in nature, box and work. In the future I see myself as a neonatologist and a foster parent.

Three characteristics that make me a good fit for the Learning AFAR Program are that I am determined, I have faith in myself, and I never give up. I am a victor and have won the battle that broke me, and I have strength and the ability to uphold myself after all the circumstances that happened in my life. If I had the power to change one thing in my community, it would be to take the pain away from everyone. I would like to be able to provide homes for the homeless and give all children a family.

I will use what I learn from this experience to teach my brothers and sisters and those at Florida Youth Shine the importance of giving back and serving those who may not be as fortunate as we are.

hiking student on LearningAFAR high school summer travel programs

Stephanie W.
Age 16

My name is Stephanie and I currently live with my grandparents, great-grandparents and brother. I have two wonderful brothers named David and James. They really are amazing and I am very lucky they are in my life.

I am a non-denominational Christian and go to church every Sunday, and youth group every Wednesday. I absolutely love my church family and find them very encouraging in my life.

In the future I really hope to be a kindergarten teacher and a writer and novelist. I really love to read and write. When I go to college I plan to get my bachelor’s degree and my degree in education in order to accomplish these goals.

One characteristic I have that makes me special is that I think of myself as being nice, but I am also a bit quiet. I would love to meet the other girls who are going on this expedition and would love to be able to get to know them. Also I really like to help, so whenever I am asked to help on something I would be more than willing to do so.

I would really like to share my story of being in the foster care system with the other girls on this program and hopefully be able to comfort them in any way that they need.


Photos: 2016 Learning AFAR Girls’ Foster Program, U.S. Southwest. 2018 Program Dates: July 5–13


In 2018 we have another cohort of these students on a six-month journey of self discovery. They are learning about what it means to live a No Barriers life, and they will bring it to life as they travel to the Desert Southwest with us this summer.

This is just one of several No Barriers programs for students that is entirely dependent on the generosity of donors like you.

Join our Rope Team and support these vulnerable and inspiring young people today!


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May 18, 2018
No Barriers

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