For more than 20 years, well into her adulthood, Shenandoah Chefalo wouldn’t breathe a word about growing up as a foster child, concerned about how others might perceive her.
But a few years ago, after she was confronted with the struggles many foster children experienced after they “aged out” of the system when they turned 18, Chefalo decided it was time to share her experiences.
Chefalo, who wrote a memoir about her years in the foster care system titled “Garbage Bag Suitcase,” became an outspoken supporter of the Court Appointed Special Advocate program, which is active in more than 49 states.
She brought her story to Tuesday morning’s annual “Speak Up for Children Through CASA” fundraiser breakfast at the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center, 420 S.E. 6th.
A major focus of her talk was on difficulties experienced by children who age out of the foster care system, often without a support system in place.