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“I want kids entering foster care to have an understanding of their rights within the system. We are strong,” said Dea, a Skidmore College sophomore who plans to major in Business and International Affairs. Although Dea lived in several states and moved through different schools, Dea overcame the obstacles of a childhood in foster care. Dea was recognized as the 2015 Youth of the Year not only for her ability to achieve academically, but also her leadership. While head of the HSVS Youth Advisory Council, Dea was a strong communicator and role model, who actively motivated her HSVS peers to get involved. “We always talk about the things that are hard for us. We know how the system can be improved. Why not join forces to change them?” Dea’s advocacy skills will serve her well in a career enacting positive social change for kids in foster care. “We have the voice that should be guiding change in child welfare. We will make a difference,” said Dea.