Brooklyn Family Court hosts annual Teen Day events
The Kings County Family Court held its annual Teen Day event on Thursday where Brooklyn kids from the foster care system are brought into the court so that they have a platform where they can network and get exposed to social programs designed for them.
The event is meant to provide teens, particularly those transitioning into adulthood, with information ranging from how to get health insurance to scheduling doctor’s appointment and teaching them how to build a resume to preparing them for job interviews, among others.
Judges, lawyers, court employees, social workers and foster care kids all packed the 10th floor of the Kings County Family Court on Thursday afternoon to hear inspiring stories and to also show support to kids transitioning from the foster care system into a life of their own.
“Teen Day is a program that we organized every year at this courthouse for teens who specifically have contacts and interactions with the family court system and who are transitioning into becoming independent adults,” said Hon. Dean Kusakabe.
“Over the past few years we’ve been calling this program Passport to Your Future because our hope is that our program will inspire and inform one of the teens — who is here — in making plans for the future,” Kusakabe continued.
About 20 organizations dedicated to helping struggling youths participated in this year’s event.
This year’s teen panelists were AJ Hayes, a poet, from the Possibility Project; Wendy Herrera, also a poet; and Zaniyah Solis-Fearon, a writer, from Youth Communications. Both the Possibility Project and Youth Communications work with struggling youths to help them channel their passion into creative and performing arts.
Herrera, 18, pointed out that the important part of this event is that kids currently in the system can meet and build relationships with other kids whom they share similar experiences with.
“This helps foster kids because it makes them see that there are other kids out there who are going through the same things as they are,” said Herrera, who managed to overcome her drug abuse and gang affiliation and now is poised to attend John Jay College. “It helps them realize that they are not alone and maybe make friends,” she added.
“I just want to say thank you to also all the performers and writers, and thank you for sharing your life with us,” said Supervising Judge Amanda E. White. “It’s really truly inspiring and I appreciate you being here.”