Vol. 8, No. 1 November 2003
Carolina Woman Named "Youth of the Year"
Medina, a former foster youth from Gaston County, has been named Youth
of the Year by the National Independent Living Association (NILA).
In an awards
ceremony in Orlando, Florida on August 14, 2003, NILA celebrated Melindas
independence, determination, and unwavering commitment to improving
the lives of foster youth.
Medina, a founding member of the group SaySo (Strong Able Youth Speaking
Out), for successfully bringing the concerns of youth in care to the
attention of North Carolinas leaders and for inspiring other young
people to speak out. The ceremony also honored her for providing an
example of steadfast self-confidence in the unpredictable world of foster
care, and for being someone who focuses on solutions, not problems.
high school on schedulewith honorswhile raising two toddlers.
While in school she worked full time, earned a college scholarship,
and attended court hearings for her six younger siblings. She left foster
care at age 19 and has been on her own for two years.
Melinda has graduated from community college, works full-time, and is
the mother of three daughters. She intends to pursue a career in human
services. She is also interested in becoming a Guardian ad Litem.
is living proof that youth involvement can create positive changes in
the foster care system. Melinda is full of life and fire. Shes
someone who will never give up. Were proud of you, Melinda!
2003 Jordan Institute for Families