My name is Rosalyn (Rosie) Feather. I am an enrolled member of Fort Totten- Spirit Lake Tribe in North Dakota. I entered the foster care system around the age of 6, and remember at least 9 foster care placements since 2000. I was involved with the foster care system because of family conflict, along with drugs and alcohol in the home. Moving around has been a constant my whole life.
I found out about Ain Dah Yung Center through former Native foster brothers and sisters who had gone there when things weren’t working out in the foster homes. In February of 2015, when I was starting to ‘age out’ of that system; did not qualify for extended foster care benefits and did not have many options to turn to: my Anoka County Social worker helped me make that call. I did an interview with staff at ADYC’s Youth Lodge and moved in less than a week later because they had an available opening. I had just graduated High school and was unsure what I wanted to do. I knew I was interested in working and possibly considering college.
While I was at the Youth Lodge staff helped me get healthy in all four aspects of myself; I could manage my diabetes; they taught me about nutrition, healthy dieting, we always had food in the refrigerator and they had exercise equipment in the basement. I was also enrolled in health insurance that covered my insulin. After working on a resume and getting a full-time job, I learned how to manage money, budget my spending and saved a portion of every pay check that went into my ADYC savings account. I attended Life Skills and Culture Groups weekly at the Youth Lodge as well as stayed connected with another Native organization where I followed through in my Anger Management groups with encouragement from staff. I worked with ADYC’s Tobacco Prevention Advocate as a Peer Mentor helping other Native youth experiencing similar struggles. We even went to the Elders Lodge.
The Youth Lodge Coordinator taught me about beading and how to make a Jingle Dress. We danced together at the Gathering for Our Children and Returning Adoptees Pow Wow at the Indian Center in Minneapolis. Adoptees, fostered youth and birth relatives met and visited with other adoptees. There was a Wablenica Ceremony. (A ceremony offered to heal the grief caused by separation from family and heritage). Along with ADYC staff and other residents, my biological mother, brother and sisters came to support me.
I made permanent connections with other Youth Lodge residents, they are all still my friends, and the staff there are part of my support system. When I lived at the Youth Lodge I FELT LIKE THERE WAS ALWAYS SOMEONE THERE TO LISTEN TO ME. I FELT LIKE I HAD MY LIFE SORTED OUT.
Now I am living at 7th Landing permanent supportive housing that the Youth Lodge Coordinator helped me fill out applications for, get forms and verifications signed, sent in and went with me to the interview. I am working in downtown St. Paul and expecting a baby girl Alayna Rose Feather on March 27, 2017. Youth Lodge staff are currently helping me plan and throw me a baby shower. I am so grateful to the Ain Dah Yung Center’s Youth Lodge and all they did to help me start a new life!
Pidamaya (Thank You)