Debbie Dickinson, Esq.

Debbie Dickinson received her B.A. in Accounting (summa cum laude) from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.  She practiced Employee Benefits, Employment and Labor law in Atlanta at Fisher & Phillips, LLP.  She lectures in the Wharton MBA Program as an Adjunct Professor and is an entrepreneur.  Debbie is passionate about issues involving access to higher education and matters affecting abused, neglected and disabled children.  She has served on the Executive Board of The Achievement Project which partnered with high schools in Chester, PA to work with disadvantaged high school students to successfully ensure preparation for and access to a college education.  She also served as Fundraising Chair of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Drifters, Inc. which provides college scholarships annually to deserving high school seniors.  She has also been very active with the Pennsylvania Tourette Syndrome Alliance, requesting and obtaining appropriations from the state legislature to allow PTSA to support children with Tourette Syndrome.  Debbie has also served in various leadership capacities with both the Girls Scouts and the Boy Scouts of America, where she has mentored several scouts to attain Eagle Scout rank.  Debbie is a member of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Miami Gardens where she is active in the justice and education ministries.  As a foster and adoptive mother, Debbie is honored to join the Board of Florida’s Children First to advocate for the legal rights of at-risk children in the state of Florida.

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Alexia Nechayev

FYS Events & Meeting Chair
(Palm Beach)

Hello, My name is Alexia Nechayev. I am 25 years old and I am an alumna of Florida International University where I received my B.A. in Psychology. My future career goal is to be a Lawyer. I was in care for about one year from age 17 to 18. Prior to entering care, I only knew about the negative stigma regarding foster care and while in care that narrative was unfortunately my experience.

In school I felt like I was on display because my status in care was broadcast to other students and in my placement behavior was leveraged for “privileges” that should be a natural right of all children. Because I did not know my rights I did not know that what I was experiencing was wrong. Today this is exactly why I advocate, because I don’t want this to be the same for other youth who are experiencing foster care.

This is my second year on the FYS Statewide Board and I’m happy to be the Events and Meetings Chair this year because my main goal through advocacy is to reach as many people as possible. My favorite thing as a board member is to see how comfortable members become while working together. The community needs to know that youth in foster care are real people, going through some of the hardest moments of their life and youth need to know that their voice is powerful. I believe that we have to speak up and bring these issues to people’s attention so that they do not forget us. Advocacy, education and consistency is the only way.

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