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winning essays from the 24th annual awards for youth in foster care

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On June 1, 2022, Represent magazine and Youth Communication celebrated the outstanding writing, persistence, and achievements of 10 young people at the 24th Annual Awards for Youth in Foster Care. Each winner received a prize of $1,100 and recognition of their writing, resiliency, and service to others.  Each winner submitted two essays for the competition: about a time they helped someone […]

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Breaking Free of My Mom to Be My Real Self

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I first realized that my mom’s violence wasn’t normal one day when I was 7. My mom got drunk, which I’d seen before. I’d seen her physically attack people too, but this time was worse. She pulled me out from underneath the couch by my ponytails. She also dragged my aunt by her hair, hit […]

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Letting Go of the Illusions

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Names have been changed. My father died when I was 12, after years of fighting cancer. Toward the end, when he was very sick, I wanted to give him all my love. It was easier to do that by shutting out things he’d done to my mom in earlier years. Admitting the truth even to […]

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Not Safe Enough to Feel It All

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When I was very little, my father, Troy, beat me, but not my older sister or my mother. He chose me because he didn’t think I was his child. He’d scream, “You’re not mine; you’re too light-skinned!” He did abuse my mother in other ways, though: He would push her and yell degrading things at […]

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