Fostering Change Network’s expertise in child welfare begins with Founder and CEO Shalita O’Neale, a highly trusted and nationally recognized professional both inside and outside of both social work and foster care circles. In addition to her own experience in the foster care system, Shalita possesses over 15 years’ experience working and advocating for youth and alumni of the foster care system. Mrs. O’Neale also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from the University of Maryland at College Park and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Maryland Baltimore.
Shalita’s desire to empower adults from foster care to secure resources to allow them to contribute to the economic development of their communities led her to found the Fostering Change Network Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides young adults with foster care histories access to human, financial and social capital that will support their personal and professional endeavors in all sectors of the economy while assisting and mentoring other alumni to do the same. It is also the foundation’s goal to increase the numbers of foster youth graduating from post-secondary education and vocational institutions as, according to the most recent research, less than 10 percent of foster youth graduate from college.
Through all her personal and professional endeavors, it is Shalita’s ultimate goal to dispel the stigma of foster care by highlighting the contributions of alumni of the foster care and providing them with the resources, tools and peer network that will allow them to excel.
Kimberly C. Rhyan FCN Foundation/Education and Career Specialist
Kimberly has been working in Higher Education since 2003 and earned her B.A. in Fine Art from Mount Vernon Nazarene University and M.A. in Creative Arts Therapy from Hofstra University. She is a former foster youth and national advocate who supports foster youth to defy statistics by graduating high school and post-secondary educational programs. Over the past 5 years, she has served as a board member of Ohio Reach, which improves post-secondary outcomes for foster care youth and alumni. Since 2017, she has been employed by the University of Cincinnati with the Higher Education mentoring Initiative (HEMI). She recently joined the FCN Foundation team in April 2019! Her personal story of reconciliation and resiliency focuses on moving from hurt to healing through empowerment and survivorship strategies. Kimberly isn’t just a former foster youth, she is a soul-inspired storyteller, entrepreneur, artist, mother, educator, and writer!
Kashawn Milligan, Creator of Kay's Keys and Founder of I KARE Initiative
Kashawn, creator of Kay’s Keys, is a Baltimore, Maryland native and author of two self-help books, known for affirming quotes for people, passion and purpose!
Kashawn answered an early calling into a child development career at the Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, followed by an extensive nonprofit development of educational curriculum for the Maryland TRIO Programs, and professional fundraising for The American Red Cross, Amnesty International, ChildFund International and more. Passionate to create her own path and champion purpose-fulfilling projects, Kashawn’s network has grown to include fellow authors, educators, philanthropists and public speakers, proudly empowering them all along their personal journeys.
Following publication of her second self-help workbook, Keys 2 Your Resignation, she began domestic and international speaking tours for corporate trainings, seminars, and other events. She has globally connected with thousands with the mission to motivate and collaborate putting personal purpose into play.
Kashawn recently launched the Reclaim Campaign, internationally honoring courageous women who share personal stories of reclaiming time, voice and faith. This campaign shows women that making the best personal choice isn’t an isolated incident or an exception to the rule. We are more than capable of releasing the old and redefining what makes us complete.