Walk a Mile Making Politics Personal.

"I just want to be a voice for foster children. The transition from foster care to being an adult is extremely difficult, and I donít think a lot of people understand that. Thatís what I want the state senatorÖto know."

Former foster youth and WAM participant

"She asked me questions and I told her about special programs like the heating assistance program and the weatherization program. She said that I have resources that helped her do her job and helped her learn more."

Oregon
low-income participant

"Walk a Mile is a great project. It gives participants a glimpse into each other's realities and offers the opportunity to glean, first-hand, a very real and tangible understanding of the responsibilities and challenges both lawmaker and participant is confronted by in their day-to-day lives."

WAM Coordinator Kingston, NY

Participants' Perspectives

Many youth and low-income parent participants find that their confidence level has increased as a result of their participation in the program.

"I never realized how busy a foster alumni without support must be to go to school and work full-time." - Washington state Senator

"Having participated in Walk a Mile, I have acquired an entirely new perspective. My partner allowed me to learn about her personal struggles and most importantly her desire to become completely self-sufficient."  - Los Angeles County Policymaker 

"Our visit to a Department of Public Social Services office has allowed me to view ‘the system’ from a totally different viewpoint.  I plan to take her comments and formulate them into policy recommendations to assist my supervisor in advocating for improved services in the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Program." – Los Angeles County Policymaker 

"I'm very excited that the Representative has decided to sponsor a bill to extend foster care benefits to the age of 21. Although this bill was already in the works, WAM certainly had an influence on bumping it up to one of her highest priorities and giving her some personal experience to speak more effectively about the need." -Washington state foster youth participant

"Lydia, a low-income participant was paired with an extremely busy staff person from a State Senator’s office. Lydia was nervous about meeting with the staff member. I saw Lydia in our parking lot on the morning after her first meeting with her match. She came over to me, very excited, and said she felt 100 times better about herself after meeting the staff member. Lydia had regained confidence, which had been shattered since becoming low-income."  - WAM Coordinator, Los Angeles, California

"It meant a lot to the foster youth that the Washington state representative used the one night of the week that he has his son with him to join the foster youth at his house meeting at the group home where he lives. This was a unique experience for both the representative and his son. Also, all the staff and youth who were present that night gained a new perspective about policymakers. I heard from the youth's liaison that he has never voted before, but plans to now because he is a constituent of the respresentatives and wants to make sure that he stays in office." - Project Coordinator, WAM Washington state foster youth project coordinator

Lisa, a staff member representing a California Senator’s office, had the senator make up a special certificate for Miesha, Lisa’s low-income match. When Lisa presented it to Miesha at the WAM closing reception, she spoke about how proud she was of Miesha for being a single mom and getting through the struggles of being low-income. Lisa had to pause because she got choked up in her presentation. It was a moving experience for both of them."

"The Kanawha Valley Collective has truly been honored to host this wonderful program; and as the Coordinator, my heart has been touched time and again over the course of the program.  Lives have been forever changed."

Executive Director, Kanawha Valley Collective West Virginia WAM Coordinator

"I expected to be looked down on for being on welfare. My back was up going into this project. I found my match was a wonderful person and it's good to know that legislators are human."

Low-income participant
New Hampshire