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Deiredra Oliver

Founder & CEO

The numerous difficulties adolescents face as they age out of the foster care system are fairly well documented.  Such difficulties include poor health, homelessness, incarceration and the lack of a high school diploma/college degree. Additionally, many of these foster care youth are victims of child abuse and neglect which have negative psychological, emotional and physical outcomes.

 

“In 1989 I was a sophomore in college and I emerged from the foster care system in New York City.  I was given a $250 furniture voucher and I had no permanent place to live.  I would call my dormitory room home and was faced with the dilemma of where I would reside during breaks when campus was closed.  I was consistently faced with the lack of housing while completing my studies and it wasn’t until 1993, six years later when I able to secure permanent housing. Many years later I discovered through my volunteer work as an Advocate for Foster Care Youth, that teens continue to face this issue and are forced to make some tough decisions upon their 18th birthday."  It is the plight of these teenagers which led me to form, The Empowerment Zone Inc.”

Deiredra Oliver

Founder & CEO