The National Crittenton Foundation recently hosted their “In Solidarity” Conference in Atlanta, GA. In Solidarity is a national convening of young leaders, advocates, social service professionals, community-based organizations, and policymakers. At this conference, Destiny Jackson received the BOLD (Bridging Opportunity Love & Determination) Shero Award.

Destiny came to Youth Service, Inc. through Youth Emergency Service (YES), our youth shelter and respite program. Although she came here expecting to be there for a very brief time, it ended up being quite an extended stay, not related to anything she had or had not done. Destiny was nominated by Youth Service, Inc. to be a BOLD Shero as a result of her relentless compassion, her focus on the best outcomes for herself and her peers, her effervescent advocacy skills and her ability to never give up.

Never giving up may not seem like a major accomplishment to some. However, as a youth in the child welfare system, your voice is often silenced. Adults are not asking for your input and not listening when a youth offers resolutions to a challenge. Destiny’s approach to working with adults was to speak, advocate and repeat. Most importantly, she shared her advocacy skills with her peers, guiding them in language and techniques to have their voices heard by those that had a say in their lives.

Throughout her stay at YES, she continued school and never allowed the child welfare system nuances to take her off course. Her grades remained high and never missed a day , no easy task for someone in a shelter environment. She became the voice for youth and was not fearful of speaking to the director about an issue or just to say thanks for a good activity. Destiny is a BOLD Shero.