Bonus Babies

Bonus Babies

The BONUS BABIES podcast is the only one of its kind that features the compelling true-life hard-hitting stories of youth with a lived foster care experience and the people who care for them––all via the unique 360* lens of a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer. Through raw first-hand accounts, BONUS BABIES reveals the daunting complexity of the foster care world while documenting the challenges, failures and successes of the system as well as the people and the agencies involved. The creator and host, Jayne Amelia Larson, is a CASA - a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer for youth in foster care. In the same way a CASA works, she explores all things in the foster care maze by talking to kids, parents, caregivers, attorneys, social workers, therapists, adoptees, adoptive parents, members of community and social programs...anybody and everybody who will speak to her to keep the conversation open and the information flowing about all things CASA––to give a forum to help people understand what it's like to have a lived foster care experience. Original music by Christina Apostolopoulos. Audio engineering and mixing by Adam "Yukon" Harr. Executive Producer is Jake Eberle

Episodes

March 26, 2021 2 min

This is the trailer for my podcast, BONUS BABIES. I interview kids, attorneys, social workers, caregivers and more, and track my experience learning about and navigating through the foster care system…not as someone who has a lived foster care experience… but through the unique lens of a Court Appointed Special Advocate (or CASA) volunteer––the eyes and ears of the court––whose job it is to seek out as much information as possible ...

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Jayne Amelia introduces the BONUS BABIES podcast and talks with her first guest, foster parent and Peace4kids.org volunteer, Mrs. Dorrie Woods. After a rewarding career in education, Dorrie  retired to a life of family and volunteering with Center of Hope Youth Ministries, Miracle Workers, Carson Foster Parent Association, and Peace4Kids which offers a peaceful respite to children in the system and their families. She’s a Fun Ambas...

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Jayne Amelia talks with Jaci Cortez, former foster youth identifying as LGBTQIA and now a foster youth advocate. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Jaci is of Guatemalan and Asian Indian descent, and was in foster care from the ages of 4-21. She has a Communications Degree from Rio Hondo College, and now serves as a consultant to nonprofit organizations and programs that serve current and former foster youth. Jaci is worki...

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Jayne Amelia interviews former foster youth, Venus Manuel, a shining example of how nurture does not always triumph over nature. 

From an early childhood rampant with sexual and physical abuse followed by a string of nine foster care homes, the development of another disillusioned dysfunctional youth seemed tragically imminent.  However, the strength, passion and individuality inherent in Venus provided her with the abilities to no...

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Jayne Amelia talks with Lori Nelson, former social worker working in the foster care system and now with the LA County Probation Department. "Lori was born a crusader with a heart for lost pets, the kid bullies made fun of and the person to run to and run away with when things were scary and unsafe. Lori’s childhood experiences led her to work in the helping profession in various human services organizations bringing value to c...

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Jayne Amelia Larson talks with former foster youth Venus Manuel and her case worker Lori Nelson, a former social worker working in the LA County foster care system. Venus spent her adolescence and teen years bouncing from foster home to home, and credits one great social worker, Lori Nelson, with saving her life.  And Lori says they saved each other. Venus is now an Independent Living Coordinator with the Los Angeles County Probati...

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Today's guest is LaTanya Hill. "LT" is a writer with a background in law, education, government, and most recently became a Reiki Master and started  her own energy healing business in Los Angeles  – IMREIKINOW.  She has been a CASA for over 4 years and is still assisting her very first child in the program.

Please see imreikinow.com for more information about LT's healing work.

Go to NationalCASAGAL.org
to find out ...

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Jayne Amelia talks with children's attorney Juan Valles. Juan was born in Downey, California, and grew up in Southeast Los Angeles County. After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, with a B.A. in linguistics, Juan spent several years working in higher education administration. In particular, he worked with undergraduates in advising, career planning, and student discipline. He later completed a Master's ...

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Jayne Amelia talks with former foster youth Vaughn Laws. "My name is Vaughn  and I wish I knew where I was headed, but this adventure that has been life left me a husk of who I used to be. I've come through a lot and managed to keep my wits about me and pretty much out of trouble. I am currently aspiring to be a graphic designer. I had more ambition when I was a teen since I thought I wasn’t going to be doing everything on ...

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Jayne Amelia talks with former foster youth Toni Cunningham. Anthony Cunningham, better known as Toni, is currently in his fourth year in the Recreation Tourism Management program at Cal State Northridge. Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles in the foster care system, Toni has overcome the many obstacles that have been placed is his path. Toni can be described as resilient, hard-working, and a ray of light. He's current...

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Jayne Amelia talks with former foster youth Jaronna Yates. Jaronna has worked in the entertainment industry for the past 22 years, spanning across three major studios, and is currently the Sr. Project Director with Illumination Entertainment heading up the Global Project Management Team for their Marketing Division. From ages five to 13, Jaronna was raised in a Catholic orphanage and lived in several foster homes in Louisville, KY....

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Ashleigh Nichols is a creative New York-based artist, web designer, developer, and illustrator living in Brooklyn with a penchant for all things creative. Ashleigh grew up in a suburban town just outside of D.C. and now calls Brooklyn home. She graduated from The New School with concentrations in Visual Arts and Writing and began coding in 2016. She has worked for large non-profits doing development, special events, and marketing.

S...

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Jayne Amelia Larson talks with the powerhouse Wendelyn Julien who served as CEO of CASA of Los Angeles from 2016-2021, and is now the Executive Director of the new Probation Oversight Commission at Los Angeles County. She is an attorney with over 20 years of experience in social justice work with a focus on improving our community for young people. Wende is a biological parent of three, adoptive parent of one, and has been a foster...

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Jayne Amelia talks with foster care alumnus Diane Martell who has talent and grit too.  She's an experienced learning & organizational development consultant, is known for supporting clients in reimagining current processes, procedures and team talent, and maximizing performance as they develop plans for the future. With 30+ years working in both the profit and nonprofit sectors, Diane is a catalyst for well-organized c...

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Jayne Amelia talks with the gracious and always growing, Megan Green, Founder/CEO of Motivate Vibe Grow and Crownworkshops all over the world. "Service isn’t one act of kindness," she says. "It has been a lifestyle for me.  I have been a leader and advocate for marginalized groups and people of color throughout my whole career. I have dedicated my life to serving others since my college days advocating for people suffer...

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Jayne Amelia talks with Sid Gardner who co-parented four biological, step, and adoptive children during the past 50 years. Mr. Gardner is a Southern California native and serves as President of Children and Family Futures which he co-founded with his wife, Dr. Nancy Young. He served as Director of the Center for Collaboration for Children at California State University, Fullerton from 1991-2001. He is the author of Beyond Collabora...

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Jayne Amelia talks with former foster youth Tamar Sebesta, who is also a proud and happy young mother. "I’m Tamar Sebesta and a sophomore student at Orange Coast College. I am in the process of achieving an Associates degree for transfer in Political Science, Communications, Psychology, as well as Liberal Arts. I am an active member on my campus and am involved in programs such as Guardian Scholars, EOPS, CARE, the speech and d...

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Jayne Amelia talks with Teena Festa who is a new CASA volunteer and also a former foster youth. After having a very difficult time in foster care, as well as struggling with mental health and addiction as a young adult, Teena persevered and decided to try and help people like her. On top of being a CASA, she is working on her psychology degree with a concentration on child and adolescent development, and plans to work with children...

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Jayne Amelia Larson talks with foster parent and adoptive mother, Anita, who when she was  single and only 22-years-old welcomed an 11-year-old girl, Ashleigh, into her home thinking it was for short respite care, maybe a week or a month... and ended up caring for her for years and then adopting her. Anita says: "I would not have been able to do this if I didn't have the support system that I had with my family and friends,...

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Jayne Amelia talks with producer, entrepreneur, and serial philanthropist, Peter Samuelson. Peter Samuelson is the  Co-Founder and President of First Star, and CEO of PhilmCo Media llc. Mr. Samuelson is a serial pro-social entrepreneur. In 1982 he co-founded the Starlight Children’s Foundation; by 1990 the positive psychological impact of Starlight seeded his next pro-social endeavor, Starbright World, co-founded with Steven Spielb...

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