In this installment of the DCFYI Digest, we sat down with Dayar to discuss how DCFYI allows youth in foster care to be themselves.
DCFYI: What makes DCFYI unique to you?
Dayar: So, for me, I think what was unique about DCFYI was that it allowed teens and adults to connect. I think this might be the theme of DCFYI for me. It allowed teens and adults to connect organically in various events. I remember we had the college visit; we went to sporting events. We did the annual birthday party where they have like a bunch of different, outdoor games and fun events. But the events were designed where, a person couldn’t hide necessarily, but you didn't have to be forced to engage.
I'll use an example of one of the basketball events. We attended a basketball game, and adults would generally pick up one or two of the youth. This was like the first interaction for me with this way of being picked up by an adult who was going to take me to the event. So, within that time period of commuting to the event and getting there, of course we were in a car together and we were able to engage and have communication. No one was like I'm looking to mentor; I'm looking to adopt; I’m looking to host. It's just that we're just having organic communication and conversation, which is fostering and building relationship.
DCFYI: What was your favorite part about attending the events?
Dayar: I don't know how strategic Susan was in terms of who picked who up, some systematic thing that as a youth I didn't know or if as an adult, they did know. But it was an opportunity where we got to engage with an adult, and for me, it was one of the first times, even though I'm from Washington, D.C., with a large diversity and melting pot of people.
It was the first time where I actually had the pleasure of being surrounded in this diverse community of people ranging from ages, genders, sexual orientations, religion, race. And it was just very, very diverse. It was more of a salad bowl than like a melting pot because everyone was able to freely express and be themselves without feeling the need to conform to any one thing.
Just because you share these values or these differences. It allowed us to still be ourselves. And I thought that was probably the most unique and eye-opening experience for me engaging in these events. And I learned so much about different cultures, different people, and I made some really cool connections with people. So that was my experience with the first involvement in events going to DCFYI.