We had the good fortune of connecting with Roschanda Fletcher and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Roschanda, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
People often times think about the “why” when starting a new business, nonprofit, or project. However, for me it was not just about the why but “who”. Who would benefit from my organization? Who would be impacted by encountering and interacting with Fostering LIFE? Who is a future client of the organization and how do we support the shift between current and future clients (if necessary)? These are some of the questions I would ask myself when starting my nonprofit to support and empower foster youth. I know my why but to think about who was more impactful. Who are the kids that didn’t ask to be in foster care, yet they are, and now because of “foster care” the likelihood of a successful transition into adulthood is minimized. If I can touch the lives of current foster youth and continue to advocate for change through my organization then hopefully the future client looks quite different.
When I think about the who, it’s not just in terms of the youth. The volunteers that work with us find themselves interacting with youth that often times change their views and perceptions of foster care and foster youth. Yes, my why is to support and empower foster youth to excel in LIFE but my ultimate goal is to change lives not just for the youth but for the caregivers and future caregivers. Changing lives happens only by remembering my why and remembering WHO I am doing this for.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Fostering LIFE is the nonprofit I founded with the intentions of supporting and empowering foster youth to excel in LIFE (leadership, independence, faith and education). Having an idea for a nonprofit is easy but bringing the idea to fruition and watching it grow has been amazing. So far in 2021, we have 112 youth participating in our Gift Cards for Grades program which encourages youth to set an academic goal and work toward achieving it over a 6-week period. We’ve packed and given out 50 duffels filled with toiletries and undergarments to support youth transitioning into care. We’ve held feedback sessions with teens in care to hear and learn from them what they think is most helpful in supporting them during their time in care. From this feedback we are working to establish a focused mentorship program for young girls, college tours and job-shadow program. And there is are so many more programs scheduled for later in the year. More programs mean more work for us but ultimately mean more youth getting what they need as youth in care.
Managing the nonprofit is not a simple tasks but it is one of the most rewarding. As our program numbers increase I know that we are not only growing as a organization but we are changing lives. Our mission is to support and empower foster youth to excel in LIFE and despite the many challenges we face, I work tirelessly to ensure we are always operating in support of our mission and ultimately empowering foster youth for life.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Considering I’m from Dallas, Texas and majority of my family is still there when they come to see me there are always so many things I have planned. 2020 put a damper on our visits but as we look forward to seeing each other again in the coming months, I am back working diligently on a list of things to do and places to see in the A. So far the list looks like: – grabbing food from some notable locations such as: Slutty Vegan, Roc South Cuisine & Cocktail, Breakfast at Barney’s
– catching a sporting event for whatever sport is in season since the seasons are all adjusted due to COVID. But my favorite is basketball so would definitely try to catch Tre, John and Lou of the Atlanta Hawks
– Take a ride…bike ride that is. It’s not as easy to ride the City of Dallas on a bike so it’s a must when visitors come to ATL. It’s nothing like touring a city while riding along the beltline and the many city trails. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Fostering LIFE would not be what it is without the support and participation we receive from current foster parents and caregivers. We have a dedicated group of foster parents that make sure their youth are participating in all our events and programs. For that I salute those parents because they recognize the impact that our work can have on the youth as they get close to aging out of care. Not to mention the selflessness that foster parents exhibit. Foster parenting is fun, exciting, impactful but it is also work. There is a piece of yourself you give up to become a parent to those in need and that level of selflessness is to admired. For that reason my shoutout is to all the foster parents that have given and continue to give of themselves to be a blessing to others.
Other: For volunteer, partnership, donation, or assistance request visit the website or email admin@fosteringLIFE.org