My goal is to use this solo circumnavigation to create a story that can be a light for youth who come from backgrounds like mine, demonstrating through the challenging act of sailing around the world that foster kids are capable of unlimited achievements.
Foster kids need more advocates and inspiration. Most of us have to grow up too fast, knowing we only have ourselves to rely on. That leads to short-term thinking. Well-meaning but overloaded social workers are happy if we age out of the system without addiction or childhood pregnancy. With such a middling definition of success, the ceiling for achievement seems low. It’s extremely rare for us to go to college, let alone come into the success and power that would allow us to become influential advocates for the next generation of foster kids. I’m incredibly privileged and lucky.
Throughout my sailing journey, I will be seeking opportunities to connect with communities of foster youth and those who work with them. When I was in care, I never once met anyone who had left the system and found success. I believe that just one story like mine will have the power to encourage a child, and I want to share what I learned and how it helped me succeed.
how to support us
Add to The Kitty
While I keep Windfola simple and live simply, there are major expenses to keep sailing. There are also parts on the boat that need upgraded, or added to make a big difference. Funds to cover these expenses are essential for us to be able to sail on. You can support us by subscribing, buying Peregrina swag, or contributing funds.
New Rigging: $2500 USD
Bimini for Shade: $2000
Zia’s import fees for New Zealand: $2300
Life Raft inspection: $400
Six months of fuel: $350
Safety bar & new gimbals for stove: $200
Satellite & weather subscription: $225/month
Share Our Story
Share our social media posts. Encourage your friends or family to subscribe, or forward my writing along to someone. Connect me with publishers who might be interested in my writing, or with sponsors for sailing gear, boat parts, or other helpful items.
Help me reach youth communities. Pass along my info to people who work directly with foster youth. I want to volunteer my time to speak to these kids, and to help hands-on with what I know about aging out successfully.
Connect me with adults who work with foster youth. I can to do virtual speaking gigs from New Zealand, interviews, share writing, or—with sponsorship—travel to speak to groups of invested adults, in the USA or abroad (especially in the South Pacific).
Because I live only on what I make from my subscribers and writing for magazines, there are many things I can’t afford to purchase but would really help us out.
A spinnaker sock 45’ long
Used and easy to set up tow generator
Quick-dry women’s athletic clothing
3-4qt pressure cooker
Makita 18v cordless drill
Used iPad for navigation (2015 or newer)
Sea anchor or drogue, storm mainsail
Charts for Micronesia, Melanesia, & Indian Ocean
Raymarine cables for MFD
New foulies, and more…
more about foster care
Compared to most other former foster kids, I am extraordinarily successful. Most survivors of childhood abuse and neglect struggle to become healthy, functioning adults. Most youth who enter foster care as teenagers don’t get adopted, or even necessarily end up in actual homes. The legacy of foster care lasts the rest of our lives in a myriad of ways educational, psychological, physical, and financial so it’s always more difficult to achieve the same outcomes as our peers.
In a way, foster kids are no one’s problem; by their very nature as children without families stable enough to provide them with a secure home, they have few advocates. Most come from poverty. Due to privacy laws, their specific stories cannot be leveraged to improve their conditions. It’s rare for foster kids to come into the success and power that would allow them to become influential advocates for the next generation of foster kids. This is why their plight doesn’t get the kind of attention or support that developmental issues, diseases, and cancer get. These issues cut across socioeconomic strata, foster care doesn’t.
For more statistics and data about teenage foster kids, I highly recommend this post by The National Foster Youth Institute.
Organizations I Love
CASA ❖ I didn’t have a CASA, but other kids in the group homes I lived in did, and these volunteers were like a stable liferaft in a storm. “The National CASA/GAL Association, together with state and local member programs, supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so every child who has experienced abuse or neglect can be safe, have a permanent home, and the opportunity to thrive.”
The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative (by the Annie E. Casey Foundation) ❖ “A systems-change effort that works at the local, state and national levels to advance policies and practices to most effectively meet the needs of young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood.”
The National Foster Youth Initiative ❖ They “aim to transform the child welfare system and vastly improve outcomes for foster youth by empowering the youth and their families, building a grassroots movement in 435 congressional districts across the country, and partnering with committed policymakers. Truly transformative foster care reform will not come to fruition until the individuals who have personally experienced the child welfare system have a strong voice in the policymaking process. And NFYI is dedicated to ensuring their place at the table.”
The Joyful Heart Foundation ❖ I’ve long loved this organization, and I wear their “fearlessness” fundraiser necklace every day to remind me how I choose to survive and thrive. Their mission is “to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever.” They deliver on this mission to support survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse through healing, education, and advocacy.
Foster Care to Success ❖ “America’s college fund for foster youth,” their mission is “to provide opportunities for America's foster youth to continue their education, to increase awareness of the number and plight of older teens leaving the maze of foster care, to highlight the potential of America's foster youth and the importance of supporting their dreams, and to offer direct opportunities for citizens, business, and civic organizations to assist older foster youth.”