Shalita graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park with a BA in criminology and also holds a Masters of Social Work from the University of Maryland Baltimore.
Mrs. O'Neale founded Fostering Change Network LLC in 2012 as a way to use her 13 years of experience child welfare training, program development and advocacy to connect young professionals with foster care histories, like herself, through local and national professional networking events such as the Alumni Powerhouse Networking Conferences (APNC), that have taken place in Maryland, California and New York City since 2015. Her desire to help adults from foster care secure resources that will allow them to contribute to the economic development in their communities led her to found the Fostering Change Network Foundation .
Through the foundation she has also developed projects to reach more alumni through: The Global Ambassadors Program, a 12-month fellowship that guides alumni to form their own businesses in the US and internationally; Alumni Business Exchange, connecting alumni to organizations for career opportunities; the Alumni Success Grant Program, providing financial and educational resources to support start-ups; The Support Our Foster Youth Grant Program, providing small scholarships for life expenses to alumni enrolled in any post-secondary school; and executive producing A Part of the Family Documentary, a story that follows former foster youth on their roads to success.
Shalita O'Neale is also a non-profit development coach and has received several accolades through the State of Maryland and publications. The goal for her is to enjoy the journey to success over and over again with the largest family in the world, the foster care family.
Her ultimate goal in life is not to seek perfection, but to enjoy the journey to success over and over again, with the largest family in the world.
Our team is comprised of all who have been in foster care, affected by foster care, or work with foster youth. Each brings their own unique perspective on how to move forward in child welfare and equally important, what comes next.
Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, ember of the acclaimed Hip Group “Run DMC”; Christian Benjamin, CEO of Story MKTG; Aileen Cunningham, Author of Who Said I Wouldn't Make It?, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur; MaryBeth Hyland, founder of SparkVision; Pauline Rose-Moore, Author, Speaker, Coach, Publisher, and WPFW Radio Host.
ALUMNI POWERHOUSE NETWORKING CONFERENCE
The APNC connects foster care alumni that are mid-level professionals, entrepreneurs, and transitioning youth locally and from across the United States. In a supportive professional space, the attendees are able to network, receive business education, and advice for transitional alumni. The purpose of the event is to make the connections among people who share in the foster care experience to promote or build upon their idea or business, in addition to managing life post-foster care. Attendees include child welfare agencies, current transitional youth, and foster care alumni who are all seeking to connect to a new family member, grow as individuals, and thrive as entrepreneurs.
In the last six years, the conference has been in California, Maryland, and New York City featuring emerging and established professionals in the following industries: Business Development, Financial, Entertainment, Marketing, Child Welfare, and Non-Profit Development. In 2018 FCN introduced the Global Ambassadors Panel, a discussion about foster care experiences from around the world; the panelists were from: Canada, India, Ireland, Japan, and South Africa. Moving forward the experience will include a digital element to connect to those who are unable to attend in person.
ALUMNI SUCCESS GRANT
The Alumni Success grant provides seed funds to individual social change makers with foster care/adoption histories (Alumni/Adoptees), 25 and over, across the nation. While our grant funding is meant for purely charitable efforts, we will launch our Pay It Forward Loans to support startup social change enterprises that are designed to make a profit in 2019.
SUPPORT OUR FOSTER YOUTH GRANT
The Purpose of the Support Our Foster Youth (SOFY) Grant is to provide small scholarships to young adults in and from foster care between the ages of 18-25 that are enrolled in Community College, University or Vocational Institutions in DC, Maryland and Virginia, helping them with expenses that may otherwise prevent them from finishing their education. Students will be able to use these funds for expenses such as food, gas and electric, bus fare, daycare, rent, tuition and other living expenses.