Jacquen Jordan-Byron delves into her role as a foster care advocate with a unique perspective and passion. The Norwalker respects the system because she is a product of it.
“My advocacy started as a child. My whole family was in foster care, and we had a very good and unique experience,” Byron says, relaxing inside the Main Street Connect office in Norwalk. Outside, the sun is beginning to sink in the sky. The early evening is one of the few chunks of time she has to sit and talk.
That’s because Byron is juggling four hats at the moment: career woman, foster care advocate, grandmother and student. During the day, she serves as an international trade specialist for Charter Brokerage. The position keeps her busy in the division that monitors airport compliance and foreign trade. Foster advocacy fills most of the rest of her time. And, of course, being a mother and grandmother is a full-time job itself.
If that weren't enough, she is enrolled in the University of Bridgeport’s IDEAL program, an accelerated adult degree completion program. There she can follow a degree plan with courses that fit her schedule. “I love it, it’s a very flexible and very nurturing environment,” Byron says.
Byron hopes her courses in psychology and business management help guide future development on her path as a consultant for foster care and aggression management. She already offers her services in helping people work with and manage both the foster care system and aggression. Byron feels her Bachelor's degree in General Studies with a Business Concentration will help her take that work to the next level.
Byron notes that one of her favorite aspects of the IDEAL program is that the classes are "real” and meet in a classroom. Online offerings don't appeal to her as she can't imagine sitting still in front of a computer. She's also someone who just enjoys human interaction.
That desire for contact shows in how Byron has handled the years since her foster care. She stayed in touch with her birth mother and the social workers who helped her. “When I hear other people’s stories about how they lost contact and were in five different homes over five years, that’s just painful,” she says, hoping that her efforts and education will help more children have as positive an experience as possible.