Louie Gasper is a former foster youth and currently in extended foster care. He currently rents a house with two roommates in Olympia, Washington and attends The Evergreen State College. He also currently works two jobs one as an Office Manager and Non-Profit Coordinator at a radio station and he also serves as the Olympia Chapter Leader. He has been in foster care about seven years and has been to ten placements (both foster homes and group homes) in that time. He has had the opportunity to advocate for foster youth in many different ways since 2011. In 2011, he was living in a group home in California and would frequently go “AWOL” from the home to go to a foster youth hub. There was a group of people that would meet right across from where he would sit. They would always have KFC or pizza, and that’s already tasty, but when you live in a group home and you know that Hank cooks tuna casserole on Friday nights, that’s motivation. So he went over there and they told me all about what foster youth advocacy was and about California Youth Connection (CYC). From then on he would sporadically go to meetings, each time listening more than the last.
On the weekend of his thirteenth birthday, he got to attend his first conference with CYC while he was living in a group home. That conference taught him a lot of things. But most importantly it taught him that he had a voice, and he was not alone in his experiences or his burning passion to advocate based off of those experiences. From that point, he made the decision that a lot of us make — to dedicate our lives to bettering the foster care system. Although he didn’t know what he would do exactly, he knew he would do it. Flash forward a few years and he became the first Chairman of Policy for CYC, working first-hand to eradicate group homes statewide and battling the doctors that over-medicate our foster youth.
He has also had the amazing experience to work on foster care reform on a national and international level working with California Youth Connection, The Mockingbird Society, Fosterclub, National Foster Youth Institute, and now the International Foster Care Alliance. It has opened his eyes to hear such powerful foster youth advocates from all around both in and out of the states and it is what keeps him so motivated to do this work. He is so refreshed to know that whether he's fifty miles away from home or five thousand, there are people just as dedicated to making foster care a better place. When he is not working on foster care issues you can catch him playing basketball or volleyball, writing and producing hip hop music, and traveling all around.