Tea Talks with Tomeka – Episode 6: Melody Centeno

Melody Centeno

Melody is the Founder and Executive Director of Foster Care Unplugged. She is also an (APA) Applied Behavior Analyst for the state of New York.

After witnessing her father’s death in the 1980’s due to Aids, Melody and her siblings were placed into the foster care system. She shares the impact of her family witnessing that type of trauma. Additionally, Melody and her siblings are culturally Puerto Rican and Italian that grew up in a close Spanish section. It wasn’t an easy transition for them as they were placed in non Spanish homes. 

At the age of 7, Melody was molested. During the investigation and therapy, she decided to become a therapist to teach therapist how to do their jobs. She found at an early age that the therapist didn’t know how to build a rapport with her trauma. She uses her skills as therapist to help the healing of youth that are in foster care.  

Melody and her twin sister were hand picked out of 400 foster youth to get a scholarship from the American Dream Program. That program afforded them to be included in the 2% of foster youth to graduate from college. Had she and her sister not have gotten into this program, they would have been homeless due to aging out. Therefore, Melody is working on the “Financial Economic Empowerment” Bill in the state of NY to put money in a trust so that the youth have better opportunities to succeed. 

She is also in the process of expanding Foster Care Unplugged to Los Angeles.

Website: FosterCareUnplugged.org
Facebook: Fostercareunplugged
Twitter: Fostercareunplugged
Instagram: Fostercareunplugged

 

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