former foster youth, childhood trauma, lived experience
Belonging Workshop facilitator
keynote speaker
belonging

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IMAGINE A...

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WHERE YOUTH WITH ADVERSE BACKGROUNDS HAVE THE SAME ACCESS TO LOVE, SUPPORT, AND CONNECTION AS THEIR PEERS. 

Are you ready to be a Belonging Champion?

Throughout my childhood, the presence or absence of belonging significantly influenced the adversity and trauma that I was navigating. Some of the most challenging, traumatic, and stressful moments of my life were minimized when the need for belonging was met. And when the need for belonging wasn’t met, the trauma and burden of my life circumstances seemed unbearable.

 

The most jarring aspect of this realization in my adulthood is that I had no clue then, that most decisions I made were in pursuit of belonging or an attempt to prove to myself that I didn’t need to belong.

How different would my life and experience be if my foster parents, teachers, coaches, friends, friends’ parents, neighbors, social workers, counselors, etc., knew about the fundamental and innate desire to belong? How different would things be if they knew of the massive belonging gap I was navigating alone? How different would life be for the youth, you know?

 

The journey to helping youth with adverse backgrounds heal, love, trust, and reach their full potential begins with adults understanding the gap and committing every day to champion belonging. Only then can the gap be erased.

"Having Gaelin come in [for a workshop] was amazing. He really was able to help our staff take a deep breath and find tangible ways to bring our mission to fruition - so that all students can experience belonging.”

"Gaelin was our favorite speaker at the conference. The vulnerability he showed and the stories he shared will forever stick with us. What a gift he has to share!"

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Hi, I'm Gaelin.

As a child, my biggest dreams were to be a professional athlete, a husband, and a dad one day. I have been fortunate enough to achieve all three before my 26th birthday! Now, as a washed-up athlete, I get to live out another dream and share my story to make a difference for youth in similar situations.

 

After living in the foster care system for over ten years and experiencing homelessness, abuse, neglect, and other traumas, I often believed that I wasn't allowed to dream. And in full transparency, I thought I wasn't worthy of what I was hoping for. If it weren't for the brief moments of belonging that I experienced at some of my lowest points, I wouldn't be who I am or where I am today.

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