April 26, 2007

Foster home experience explored in new play

Kamika Whetstone has drawn from her own life as a foster youth for inspiration in writing “In by chance, out by choice,” a play being performed Sunday, April 29 at 2 p.m. in the Music Recital Hall at Sacramento State’s Capistrano Hall.

Now a youth specialist with the San Juan Unified School District, Whetstone, 22, became a foster child when only a few months old.

She hopes the play will discredit the wrong impressions many people have about foster youth. They are not bad children, but have ended up in the system because of a family member’s death or an absence of parenting in the family, says Whetstone.

The young performers in the play are foster youth themselves, and Sunday’s staging will benefit the young actors by providing them stipends and scholarships.

The play was staged earlier this year at the Celebration Arts Theatre and at San Juan High School.

Emanuel Gale, emeritus professor, Division of Social Work, said he suggested the participants let the Division sponsor a staging on campus. He is particularly concerned about the system releasing foster youth from the program at age 18 “without adequate support.” Some of them have been traumatized after shifting among several foster families, says Gale.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for students and are available at the Sacramento State Ticket Office, by calling (916) 278-4323, or at the door one hour before the performance.

Free parking is available in the student side of the parking structure next to Capistrano Hall.

“In by chance, out by choice,” is sponsored by Casey Family Programs, San Juan Unified School District, Sacramento County Independent Living Program, Sacramento City Unified School District, and Celebration Arts Theatre.

For more information, call the Division of Social Work at (916) 278-6943.