9+ years in New York's child welfare system
19 years old
Rori Matthews is a bigender foster youth who entered foster care at 10 years old. They were placed in a relative-foster home with their paternal grandparents and are expected to remain in care until they are 21 years old. Although they went through many personal struggles, they had a small support system of friends and their caseworker to help them. Being connected to people who understand their life helped them succeed in education and get through some hard times. Rori credits this support system as the reason they are able to help others.
Rori was a Girl Scout from ages 10 to 17. During their last three years of Scouts they co-lead a troop of young girls. This leadership position led to a passion for teaching and advocating for youth. Before they graduated high school, Rori participated in their school’s LGBTQ+ Club. They helped advocate for LGBT youth and the discrimination and harassment they experience. They are currently attending SUNY Orange to get their associates degree in early childhood education. They plan to graduate in 2020 and become an assistant preschool teacher until going back for their bachelor’s degree and becoming a full teacher.
Rori is an artist, poet, and an animal lover with a particular fondness for snakes. They have a deep connection to music, because music helped them through their rough times. In their free time they enjoy drawing, coloring, and writing poetry, and the occasional Netflix or YouTube binge.