A foster youth hurdles over obstacles on her way to becoming an advocate for others

It’s a long way from the metropolis of Addis Ababa to the foothills of Washington State, and perhaps no one knows this better than Yeshi Vaughan. Having spent three years in an Ethiopian orphanage, Yeshi was adopted by an American family when she was 14 years old. New life, new culture and new world — with a family of strangers. Some 8,000 miles away from her homeland, life with her new family didn’t work out. Yeshi, then a freshman in high school, ended up in a youth shelter, and then in foster care. 

Drawing on resilience

Despite these overwhelming challenges, Yeshi’s drive and resiliency shone through — and helped her make it through. She graduated at the top of her high school class, ran track and cross-country in college, and graduated on time with a bachelor’s degree in social work from St. Martin’s University, all while also holding down a part-time job. It was as a part of the FosterClub All-Stars that Yeshi first met Felicia Wetzel, a long-time coach at InsideTrack. 

Fostering success

Partnering with FosterClub All-Stars aligns seamlessly with InsideTrack’s mission of empowering and advancing all learners. As a former foster youth herself, Felicia was immediately drawn to this unique partnership. After a day-long group session for some of the foster youth involved in that program, Yeshi asked Felicia to be her coach. 

It was an ideal match, and the two forged a deep bond during their year-long connection. When Yeshi was a senior in college, Felicia worked with her to build on her communication skills and bolster her confidence.

 “My coach helped me to use my voice.” – Yeshi Vaughan, student, FosterClub All-Stars

Her personal experience with persevering through challenges have also helped Yeshi determine her career goal: to become a social worker so she can advocate for others with obstacles and barriers to overcome.

An enduring relationship

Two years after Yeshi graduated, she and Felicia reunited. Both coach and student were delighted to have that face-to-face opportunity. 

“To hear Yeshi talk about applying the very things we discussed in our coaching meetings, it comes full circle,” Felicia says. “We did some serious work together and built a relationship, and it had a significant impact in her life. And she’s able to pass that on to others, which is really really exciting.”

Together, we can help learners across the nation realize their potential.

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