Beyond Emancipation

Ty: Advocating Youth Perspective 

“Tyray is definitely a leader,” shares B:E Education & Career Coordinator Virgile. “He’s a leader who can take over and facilitate but who also knows how to follow and provide for the team.”

Tyray currently works with the Youth Advocate Program (YAP), a training and employment program for former foster youth in Alameda County. YAPers advocate for youth  in foster care.

In his role, Tyray helps youth connect to B:E. He recently also took on a new responsibility: co-facilitating virtual workshops with Virgile while we shelter in place.

“YAPers have been there, and we know what the youth want and need,” Tyray shares. “We help build and strengthen relationships between youth and staff.”

Tyray entered foster care at age 11 and then the probation system shortly after.

“I was in juvenile hall 18 times and in 11 different foster homes. I was just stuck in a cycle. When trust and bonds were broken, I returned to the street for some fast money,” Tyray remembers.

Tyray struggled to trust people. “People had to genuinely show me their true colors.” But at B:E Tyray found people he could trust and learn from.

“I’ve benefitted from Virgile’s positivity and creativity,” says Tyray. “He’s big on empowering people for their own gain. There’s never any pressure or judgment with Virgile.”

Another B:E coach, James, made an impact on Tyray.

“James has shown me that there’s always a way. He taught me that if you genuinely want to help, you need to show up consistently. People will look up to you if you continue to show up.”

As youth navigate the crisis caused by COVID-19, Tyray continues to show up for them.

“More than food, transportation, and housing, what our youth need is knowledge of healthy living. That includes preparing healthy food, managing your money, and accessing resources,” says Tyray.

Working with youth, Tyray shares, “I encourage them to network, build relationships, and not be afraid to ask questions and utilize resources to empower themselves. Don’t let pride, ego, and independence get in the way. We’re in this together.”

After his YAP internship, Tyray plans to use his leadership and management skills to start his own business. Tyray has already made a huge impact on foster youth, and we know he’ll continue to do so.