FSS Youth Advisory Council member Dina Santos among outstanding youth at competition
Actress and comedian Melissa Peterman hosted the event along with former foster youth Kayleigh Register. Each of the five finalists presented their dreams, which included creating supportive housing, mentorship programs, and support services for fellow youth who have aged out of foster care. Kaitlynn Hanson won the competition. The 19-year-old plans to open a coffee shop that employs people from under-represented groups, giving them a place to earn, learn, and have a sense of community.
“We know that these youth are going to succeed in life, because out of all the kids who applied, these five made it to this competition,” said John Paul DeJoria, Dream Tank judge and co-founder of Paul Mitchell. “They are willing to set goals and do what it takes to achieve them, no matter the obstacles.”
“These young people have spent months polishing their public speaking and leadership skills, connecting with people in their field of interest, and sharing their experiences in the foster care system. The competition is one night, but those skills will serve them for a lifetime,” said Dr. Elizabeth Wynter, Selfless Love Foundation’s executive director.
Dina Santos, a member of the Family Support Services’ Youth Advisory Council, was one of this year’s outstanding finalists. Dina’s dream is to open a centralized resource hub for survivors of sexual abuse, physical abuse and domestic violence. She highlighted her own story as a survivor and she wants to showcase that even things that may feel like a failure can be turned into strength and help other people get the help they need. Dina recently spoke about her life and experiences in the foster care system, her goals and higher education as a featured guest on the Florida Institute for Child Welfare podcast.
The judges were so impressed with the contestants’ desire to help others, they decided each youth should receive $5,000. Special guests at the event included some of the more than 600 forever families Selfless Love Foundation has helped to bring together through our partnership with Adoption-Share and their Family-Match technology.