“Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows”: Foster youth rap and dance about their yearning for a home

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The cast of “Stop Requested”

In LA County alone, there are 35,000 youth who have more urgent concerns besides iPhones, cars, and dating.  They’re foster kids, struggling to transcend neglectful and abusive homes, and then to survive in a system which turns them out to fend for themselves at age 18.

Recently, I visited the offices of the Southern California Foster Family and Adoption Agency to meet a group of kids who’ve been working together to channel their personal stories into a full-length musical as part of an initiative called The Possibility Project.

The opening number of Stop Requested alone is a knock-out, both in performance and message:

“There’s pain in my eyes, I’m sick of all these lies, they say life’s fast but for me it’s going too slow,” they rap. “Life isn’t all about sunshine and rainbows. Life is danger. Life is pressure. But we deal, yes we deal. We’ve seen violence and oppression, but we deal, that’s life. That’s real life.”

The kids I talked to are in college, working hard to make a life for themselves. They all happen to be talented singers and dancers, too.  This experience is less about performing, they said, than learning to work together as a group, to resolve conflicts, and to support one another.

The show was last performed as the kickoff of a symposium for educators and social workers.  And we share it now as a precursor to a forum on foster youth, tomorrow night at the West Hollywood Public Library, in the community room.  Then, you can learn about helping teens who are LGBT by giving them a home.  For more information, contact the Southern California Foster Family and Adoption Agency.