by Sarah Gentle

Not even a week after moving back to San Jose from Chico post-graduation, I received a text from my lifelong mentor Savonna, casually asking me if I would like to participate in Silicon Valley Community Foundation's podcast series to talk about Pivotal. As a former foster youth, Pivotal participant, and aspiring policy maker, I immediately agreed and I’m so glad that I did.

I must mention that I had no reference for podcasting, but that didn’t matter. Our host, Dean Taylor, Scholarships Officer at Silicon Valley Community Foundation, was calm and cool despite being a podcasting novice too. After briefing us on the content of the podcast, Dean led us to the room where we’d record. I admit that I couldn’t wait to see the room and see what type of technology is used for this process. For example, I learned that in podcasting, it’s common practice to use microphones with tiny screens that project out several inches to prevent awkward speaking noises.

I definitely sounded nervous at first, but as the recording progressed and Dean asked me about my experiences with Pivotal, I felt as though I actually had a voice in the world. We talked about the limited resources that are available to foster youth, specifically those with disabilities, like me. As a visually impaired student, I’ve lived in that sphere for a long time and I know there aren’t a ton of resources out there. Many people don’t realize that foster youth have multidimensional needs so it’s important that policies reflect this reality.

Pivotal has been great at supporting me since high school. Now that I’ve graduated, I’m hoping to move into a starter policy role where I can learn the logistical side of how advocacy works. Ultimately, I want to help more youth like me.

As my mini moment of fame came to an end, I felt my first spark of professional success post-graduation. It was this spark that allowed me to leave the podcast with a stronger sense of capability and confidence within myself, as well as in my future.

Listen to Sarah's podcast