First Place is pleased to announce three former participants of the My First Place program—Angelica Salmeron, Darryl McDavid, and Teresa Allen—have joined our Board of Directors. Each of them brings not only first-hand understanding of life in foster care and the challenges of transitioning to independence, but also deep personal investment in First Place as an organization and commitment to supporting foster youth in achieving success.

Inspiring Empowerment

A professional headshot of Darryl“I’m excited to step into a Board of Directors role with First Place for Youth for many reasons,” says Darryl, who joined the My First Place program in 2014 while a student at Cal State East Bay. “I’m most excited about the opportunity to empower other program participants to eventually take on leadership roles and advocate for changes.”

“Growing up in the system I can remember how often I felt powerless to change my circumstances and the things happening around me,” Darryl explains. “When it comes to making major changes to the foster care system, I believe former foster youth are an invaluable resource. If we empower them as leaders and help them to understand the important role they can play in making these changes happen; it will hopefully lead to positive outcomes for the whole system and help them to start to understand how to make positive changes happen in their own lives.”

Darryl has remained closely involved with First Place since his graduation from our program in 2015, the same year he earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He sits on our Santa Clara County Regional Board and has shared his story and spoken on behalf of First Place at numerous events with funders, stakeholders, and policy makers. Darryl’s commitment to empowering young people extends beyond his service to First Place. He is currently the Recruitment Manager for YearUp, another organization at work in the Bay Area to help young people achieve lasting success through career advancement.

A Passion for Service

Angelica and her daughter pose for an editorial portraitA My First Place participant from 2004 to 2006, Angelica credits the strong support and high expectations of the program with helping her find stability and a path toward success as she balanced motherhood, school, and work. Angelica reconnected with the organization in recent years and quickly became an active alumni ambassador. She spoke to youth at a 2018 Wall of Fame ceremony, sharing her own story and offering advice to current program participants, as well as joining us for donor events and being featured alongside her daughter in last year’s “Life After Foster Care” editorial fashion spread in LadyGun magazine.

Angelica brings a wealth of knowledge in youth engagement and workforce development to our board. She served as an in-school counselor for the Youth Employment Project for over six years and is currently a Career Development Specialist with Alameda County. Angelica earned a B.A. in Psychology from Holy Names University and completed her Master’s of Public Administration at Cal State East Bay in 2019. For her, joining the Board of Directors is a fulfillment of her desire to give back directly to First Place and to be an advocate for today’s participants.

“I am immensely grateful and humbled for this aspect in my life and career,” she told us, “as it has replenished my soul and reignited my passion to serve foster youth in transitioning successfully into the realm of adulthood, so they too can achieve remarkable things and become agents of change!”

Dedication to Justice and Equity

“I’m honored to be joining a fantastic organization that not only touches the lives of many young people, but also had a profound impact on my life personally,” says Teresa, who was part of My First Place in 2003.

Teresa poses with former First Place CEO Heidi McIntosh at a 2019 Donor EventSpeaking to supporters at our 2017 luncheon, Teresa explained that while she had always had the drive to succeed and live independently, “First Place provided the keys, both literally and figuratively.” Supported by First Place, Teresa was able to focus on attending college while working part-time. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Cal State Hayward (now Cal State East Bay) and went on to law school, earning both a J.D. from the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law, and a Master of Laws from George Washington School of Law.

Now a civil rights attorney who has represented victims of employment discrimination, police misconduct, and disability discrimination, Teresa also mentors former foster youth. Through her personal experience in foster care and First Place, she understands how important the right support is in helping young people beat the odds. We know that she will bring the same passion for justice, equity, and opportunity to our board that has guided her throughout her life.

We are thrilled to welcome Darryl, Angelica, and Teresa to the Board of Directors, and we look forward to having their voices to guide us as we continue to move the organization forward and work to ensure all foster youth have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

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