National Foster Care Month in May. In partnership with Foster Nation, Kate Somerville invited former foster youth from Southern California to create an artwork representing transformation and hope during difficult circumstances. Kate selected the winning design created by Laura Bush, a former foster youth and college student. Laura Bush partnered with our team to create the intensive packaging of the limited edition ExfoliKate (TM), featuring her winning design. It is now available on Sephora’s website and at Sephora. Laura’s words and art will reach more people. We are thrilled.
Why did you enter the contest?
Despite my busy schedule, I am very artistic, and something told me that I should go for it. I had a great time drawing it and selecting the colors.
What do you understand by defying the impossible
Defy Impossible means breaking down barriers and knowing the sky is the limit. Past experiences will not define me or hold me back.
Tell Us About Your Experience Seeing Your Artwork Come to Life on Kate Somerville Packaging
It has been an incredible experience to see my art come alive. The entire process, from the first creation to the final selection. Then, to see how a digital file is transformed into a 3-D printed box. The ink rollers were my favorite. I loved how each roller added a different color. It was also interesting to see how colors are made. The printed box was so cool. It is still on my altar so I can be reminded daily of the power of defying the impossibility.
This partnership aims to increase awareness about foster youth experiences. What would you like people to know about foster youths?
I wish people would stop having such preconceived notions of foster care children. I wish people understood that every story is unique. It’s unfair to lump us all together as “problem children.” We are who we are because of our past experiences. Even if we lacked specific occasions, it shouldn’t define us today.
Which types of support could you have used while in the system
I was unaware of all the services available for foster youth aging out of care. I was never aware of or received rent assistance or help finding an apartment. After I became emancipated, I couch-surfed for some time. Even after I reached adulthood, having a support network would have helped me focus on my studies instead of worrying about where I would sleep. After I found my support group (Guardian Scholars) in college, I could focus on my education and better my future.
What has been your greatest challenge since leaving the foster care system
Homelessness was the biggest challenge. Back then, I wish I knew what I know now. I thought it was just me against the world and did not know of any outside resources or help. Once I became more stable, I returned to school and continued my education.
Did you receive any help when applying to and attending college? Who helped you navigate the college system? If so? How did you manage it on your own
Although my family pushed me to apply for college, no one helped me fill out the forms or choose classes. The first time I took Business English, I did not need it. I assumed I would need business English because I would be in business. After my first year, I only learned about Guardian Scholars. In retrospect, I believe GS coordinators could reach out to foster youth and tell them about the program.
Tell me about your major and why you chose to study it.
I have my AA and am studying Business Management. My dream since childhood was to start my own business. I finally did it. My business is called Viiolet Moons on Etsy (etsy.com/shop/viioletmoons). I hand-pour moon-phase candles based on intention. This year, I finally realized my dream of owning a business. I also hope to do an internship before completing my BA. It would allow me to work for a large company and see if I prefer working with smaller or larger businesses.
What are your career objectives?
I want to own a successful small business. I want to expand my Violet Moons company and build a clientele. In the future, I would also like to start other companies. I am artistic and creative, so I enjoy creating, but I also like organizing and using numbers.
What role does art play in your life?
The art I use in my everyday life is essential to me. I am covered with art. I have tattoos I designed and others that people near me designed. I also enjoy being creative when it comes to my hair and makeup. I like to create candles that I decorate with crystals, flowers, herbs, and herbs. I also enjoy drawing and digital art. In addition, I enjoy cooking. I see it as an artistic process and a way to be creative by trying out new foods and creating a visual experience. My other passion is gardening. I always buy new plants and make small displays outside my flat. I think I can be myself by using art and artistic expression.