The Fanning Institute for Leadership Development’s David Meyers showcased his leadership development work at two professional conferences late in 2016.

Meyers and graduate assistant Octavia Fugerson participated in the Georgia Conference on Children and Families, organized by Together Georgia, in Augusta, where their work was featured in three sessions.

Those included:

“Help Our Youth Thrive Not Just Survive!” — Meyers joined Nia Cantey, Georgia RYSE/Independent Living program director, Lamar W. Smith, DFCS Well-Being services director, Victoria Salzman, Georgia Youth Opportunities Initiative and development coordinator and a youth from foster care.

“Understanding the Needs of College Students Who are Experiencing Foster Care or Homelessness” — Meyers presented alongside Dr. Kim Skobba, an assistant professor in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

“Disconnected Youth, Superpowers and Attention” — The closing session featured Fugerson, who is pursuing a doctorate in applied cognition and development at UGA while working at the Fanning Institute.

Meyers also served as a panelist in a workshop at the 2016 Jim Casey Fall Convening in Clearwater, Florida, from Nov. 15-17. He joined panelists from New Mexico and Michigan in a workshop session titled “Postsecondary Success for Young People Who Have Experienced Foster Care.” Representatives from more than 20 states participated in the sessions at the invitation-only conference.

As part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and along with other investors, the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative is active in communities and in states across the nation to increase opportunities for young people who are in, or transitioning, from foster care.

There are more than 13,000 young people in foster care in Georgia, and more than 300 will age out of foster care this year. These youth often experience fewer employment prospects, higher rates of incarceration and may struggle with physical and mental health challenges.

Meyers, along with other Fanning Institute faculty and graduate students, have developed an array of leadership training and programs designed to develop skills for homeless and foster college students so they can more effectively navigate the complexities of post-secondary education.

“Working within Georgia to create systems to increase the chance of success for these young adults is vital to all of our futures,” Meyers said. “Not only do we want these students to have strong job and leadership opportunities, but we also want them to be healthy and well. This is in all of our best interests.”