Ex-foster child gets a free car for helping other foster children

Manny Oliver, 24, was given a 2004 KIA Spectra

Manny Oliver, 24, is all smiles as he looks over is new car Saturday. Oliver received the first car in the Strive To Drive Challenge, a new program from Best Foot Forward, an education advocacy group for youth in foster care.

Manny Oliver, 24, is all smiles as he looks over is new car Saturday. Oliver… (Mark Randall, Sun Sentinel)

July 23, 2011|By Wayne K. Roustan, Sun Sentinel
State care may end once foster children turn 18, but a former foster child is helping others like himself. Because of that, he received a free car from a Lake Worth-area dealership on Saturday.

Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Oliver, 24, was given the keys to a 2004 red Kia Spectra provided by Offlease Only and arranged by the Best Foot Forward educational advocacy group.

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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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