Things That We Need To Talk About:

I don’t know how many of you know this, but recently the Virginia legislature moved to cease funding to provide services for foster youth after the age of 18. Previously, most jurisdictions allowed foster youth to continue receiving services until 21- which helped them find housing, attend school, receive mental health and physical health services, etc. These are young people who have a very low chance of being adopted, and will most likely age out of the system.

Maybe a few of us at 18 are ready to be independent at 18, but when you lack support from family, your odds of succeeding are slim. Virginia legislature has made it so thousands of foster youth will age out of the system way before they are prepared to- and it’s certain to lead to an increase in homelessness, chronic poverty, cut college graduation rates SIGNIFICANTLY, and create a slew of negative health consequences. 

I’m bad at explaining things so this article helps.

“These are young people who we know, at age 18, are at terrible risk of homelessness, unemployment, school dropout and involvement in the criminal justice system,” said Amy Woolard, a lawyer who specializes in child welfare issues and works with Voices for Virginia’s Children, a nonprofit group that pushes for improved health, mental health and social services for children.

“Kids who have this kind of transitional support are two to three times more likely to be enrolled in college and are more likely to seek health and mental health treatment when needed,” she said. “These are kids who face incredible odds — their success stories should not be based on luck or accident.”

So please, please, please- spread this around and contact your state legislation and let them know that this isn’t acceptable. Even if you don’t live in Virginia, if it happened here there’s a huge chance that it may be brought up in your state/

hi hello here’s a thing if you are queer, trans or gender non conforming in anyway for people living in richmond, va!!! come get comfy clothes in a comfy environment

VCU Excludes Prospective Student with a Disability from Campus Life

Zoe Allen-Lewis is an accepted student at Virginia Commonwealth University. Zoe is a prospective member of their ACE-IT program; which offers a college experience and education for young adults with intellectual disabilities. However, Zoe was recently informed by the University that she will not be provided on-campus housing (although all other freshmen are guaranteed housing), making it impossible to attend considering she lives two hours away.

The College experience is more than just books and clubs. On Campus life gives many individuals – as well as those with disabilities a chance to truly excel by developing the networks and friendships that will define their academic and professional careers.

Learn more about what you can do to help Zoe get her chance to live on campus here: https://www.change.org/p/virginia-commonwealth-university-michael-rao-dr-curtis-erwin-let-zoe-allen-lewis-live-in-vcu-campus-housing-2

Erik Brandt and Michael Walker, 2015 (36″x48″). Announcement poster for a workshop exhibition featuring student work. I am grateful for the invitation and opportunity to lead a one-week workshop with VCU’s inspiring mOb class.

The poster was created in ping pong collaboration form with Michael Walker, who contributed his various creatures and was a delight to work with. In situ images available soon.

Many thanks to Michael and the mOb organizers, John Malinoski, Kristin Caskey, and Camden Whitehead for their kind invitation. 

This is Zoe Allen-Lewis. She is an accepted student at Virginia Commonwealth University. Zoe is a prospective member of their ACE-IT program; which offers a college experience and education for young adults with intellectual disabilities. 

However, Zoe was recently informed by the University that she will not be provided on-campus housing (although all other freshmen are guaranteed housing), making it impossible to attend considering she lives two hours away. Zoe has been an active participant in both her hometown (Falls Church, VA) and George Mason High School. Zoe was elected homecoming queen, attends every sporting event, and is revered as a bright student who is ambitious to learn despite her disability. This is exemplified in the video Zoe created for her VCU application. 

Our goal is to reach the VCU administration and change their mind on the decision to let Zoe live in campus housing. This petition calls for the support of anyone who believes in equal opportunity, and the right for a deserving student to be able to attend the school she was accepted into. Not giving Zoe the opportunity to live in campus housing because of her disability is discriminatory and simply unfair, and we hope to gain the support to help give her the college experience she deserves.

https://youtu.be/0BhD10V7opA

Please sign the petition here on change.org to help end discrimination against those with intellectual disabilities! 

Update about Elise Ridley from VCU Police

“VCU Police officers took a missing persons report in November on former VCU student Elise Ridley. Since her departure from Richmond at that time, we have sought out and successfully located her. A detective spoke with Elise and determined that she left the city willingly last year and is not in danger. There has been much concern expressed about Elise recently in social media, and VCU Police let her know. Since her location is known – and she is not in danger – the missing person case on Elise is closed.”

https://www.facebook.com/VCUPD/posts/872896869433127