The Rags to Niches Podcast

Do you ever feel like you're out of place? Hiding a secret about who you really are? well if so, this episode is for you. Shenandoah grew up a foster child and held this in for a huge chunk of her life. When she finally let it out, she was liberated and used this secret to inspire the world. Hear all about how she overcame her secret and went on to live with massive confidence! LISTEN NOW

Reaching the Fourth "R": Schools and Classrooms Make the Difference

I am very excited to bring you my first guest blog. In full disclosure, I met Cathy Anther-Fialon, at a webcast on a seminar regarding building trauma informed communities. It won't be hard for you to understand that we immediately hit it off. Up until that point I had been working in my community, primarily isolated and the progress was slow. After out interaction, we have been able to move our community forward, together at a more rampant pace, which is good for my own mental health and well-being. Schools teach. Schools teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. But what happens when a child can’t learn what is taught? What can a teacher do with a child who can’t learn? Classrooms have stead

Fox 47 Lansing

Kristen Beat speaks to Shenandoah Chefalo about her new book Garbage Bag Suitcase: A Memoir and advocating for a better foster care system. WATCH NOW

Residential Schools: A Promising Alternative

In her book, Garbage Bag Suitcase, former foster youth Shenandoah Chefalo describes her childhood of abuse, followed by three years in foster care with a family that was more stable, but no more caring or supportive, than her birth family. In her final chapter, she suggests an alternative to the standard model of foster care that is failing so many young people: boarding schools for foster youth. As an example, she cites the Crossnore School, a nonprofit residential foster care home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina that was founded in 1913. Crossnore supports children from the ages of one to 21, and is known for accepting large sibling groups. Currently, 83 children live in 11 c

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