14 Sep 2014
59° Partly Cloudy
Patch Instagram photo by griffin027

Local Foster Teens Pen Book About Life Experiences

The 22 students who contributed to the book participated in URI's First Star Academy in 2012.

Local Foster Teens Pen Book About Life Experiences
By Ericka Tavares, URI Marketing & Communications 

Rhode Island students in the foster care system who attended the First Star Academy at the University of Rhode Island have written a book based on their foster care experience entitled Peek into My Pain: Reveal My Strength, which is available for purchase. 

Peek into My Pain was written by 22 teenage foster students participating in the 2012 First Star URI Academy, a college prep program for children in foster care held on the University’s Kingston campus. Students participate in a variety of social, emotional and educational experiences during a four-week residential stay.

Sandra Enos, associate professor of sociology at Bryant University, and Ariana Alicea, a former student and graduate of the foster care system, taught a three-week storytelling workshop at the academy in July 2012. The stories the students wrote were compelling, heartbreaking, and painful. 

“One of the students – O. Patrick in the book - when we asked him to tell his story, he said, ‘I have a story to tell but I don’t know why it would be important,’ ” said Enos, a Peace Dale resident. “That question really echoed with me. I think these kids need to tell their story in a relatively safe way and to be confident that somebody is paying attention.” 

Members of the First Star Academy celebrated the book’s launch by sharing excerpts during a Jan. 23 reading at Books on the Square at 471 Angell St., Providence. 

The Academy students selected the title for the self-published book and decided on the general design. Additional contributors were solicited from leaders in child welfare in the state under the general idea that “it takes a village to raise a foster child; let’s build that village.”

“I think it’s important if you’re going to be a citizen and a member of a community to be curious about what’s going on and try not to leave any vulnerable populations invisible,” said Enos. “And you can be informed by hearing the voices of the invisible. It makes their voices more powerful and your education deeper.”

Generous donations from Matt Cullina, CEO of Identity Theft 911, and the Sweet Fern Fund have underwritten the cost of producing the book.

Copies of the book are on sale for $17, and can be purchased by clicking here. All proceeds benefit the students of the First Star URI Academy. The Academy’s goal is to help the students graduate from high school and achieve success in higher education. 

Click here for more information about First Star Academy, or contact Academy Administration Director Merry Caswell at (401) 874.2168 or caswellm@cox.net.

Share This Article