WHY Teens in foster care are often invisible. Their experiences moving from home to home and school to school are traumatic and extremely difficult to navigate at 14, 15, 16, 17 or 18 years old. Samantha Olson makes them feel visible, understood, and supported. Her work with the Sacramento City Unified School district is critical to the future success and independence of her students, most of whom will eventually age out of the foster care system with few resources or supports in place. On top of her full time position with the school district, she also works as the Executive Director for Connections for Youth, Inc, a local organization dedicated to exposing foster youth to outdoor experiences that they often miss out of growing up. Sam leads camping trips nearly every weekend throughout the summer months and many throughout the school year as well. She exposes young men and women in foster care to experiences in nature, events in the arts and other educational and career opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise. She is truly a dedicated woman, impassioned to help young people in the foster care system. The youth she works with rely on her strength, honestly, care and insight to get them through some tough situations and she doesn’t always receive the thanks she deserves. I know that she is a hero to many of them. Having a woman like Samantha Olson in our community means the more than 400 young people aging out of foster care in Sacramento county every year have a greater chance of becoming successful adults and community members themselves. Her impact is undoubtedly a lasting one that directly affects the futures of her students and makes me extremely proud to have her doing this work in Sacramento.
BETCHA’ DIDN’T KNOW:
–3 WORDS THAT DESCRIBE SACRAMENTO? Trees, outdoors and family.
–FAVE LOCAL CAUSE? Sacramento County Foster Youth because they are a population of very talented youth who deserve love, adoration and a moment to shine.
–WHICH SACRAMENTO WOMAN INSPIRES YOU? Women who teach 1st – 3rd grade in Sacramento, I am often amazed at the level of commitment, energy and love these women provide to students.
–WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE IN SACRAMENTO IN 5 YEARS? Would love to see more public art displayed in green spaces and in the urban areas where there is very little art.
–FAVORITE SACRAMENTO “GUILTY PLEASURE”? Going to Old Soul Coffee on Broadway for a hot tea or glass of wine. My kids and I love going to the “coffee shop” aka Old Soul to read books and have a root beer.
–IF I WASN’T IN MY CURRENT CAREER… It would be wonderful to be a career student, taking classes that interest, challenge or teach me… about the world, philosophy and the sciences.
–LADY MENTOR GROWING UP? My mother was such an inspiration to me because she is such a strong woman who did not let the world create her path. She was a single mom with a mission of providing a better life for her kids while enjoying the wonders of nature.
–BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED? On my wedding day, my stepfather told my husband and I to “Always to be true to yourself and your relationship will grow with you.”
–ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’D GIVE TO A SACRAMENTO WOMAN IN HER 20’S? Education is the best way to have a prosperous and happy life.