As National Foster Care Month Approaches, Author Reflects on Turbulent Childhood Navigating Foster Care System and Encourages Change in New Memoir-Garbage Bag Suitcase

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Garbage Bag Suitcase, by Shenandoah Chefalo is an inspiring and hair raising story of one author's journey to overcome her desolate childhood and revamp the foster care system.

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"A desolate childhood leads to revamping the foster care system."

Imagine a desolate childhood with drug and alcohol addicted parents, numerous moves in the middle of the night with just minutes to pack, multiple changes in schools, hunger, cruelty and loneliness. This was author, Shenandoah Chefalo’s life, and for the first time, she is sharing her personal story in “Garbage Bag Suitcase” (Mission Point Press), a memoir that reflects on her turbulent journey through foster care and bravely presents grass-root solutions on how to revamp the broken system.

Chefalo asked to be put into foster care after being abandoned at her grandmother’s retirement community by her drug-addicted mother at the age of 13. She dreamed about a stable home with foster parents who loved and cared for her and was sure it would be better than her current situation. Unfortunately, her new family was more interested in the income they received by housing a foster child than actually caring for her.

Chefalo’s dreams for a stable childhood were shattered: the money she earned working at the local grocery store was taken by her foster parents to “cover her expenses.” When she was in the hospital for three weeks due to serious injuries from a car accident, no one came to visit her. She realized she was more alone than ever before.

Despite her heartbreaking circumstances, Chefalo overcame adversities and became part of 3% of all foster care children who get into college, and the 1% who graduate. Despite becoming a successful businesswoman and having a daughter of her own, she still suffers the long-term effects of her neglectful childhood. In “Garbage Bag Suitcase,” she shares her story in hope of spurring immediate change that needs to take place within the system, and what we can all do to help these children and revamp the foster care system.

Shenandoah Chefalo is a graduate of Michigan State University, holding a Bachelor of Arts with a major in interdisciplinary studies in social science, a Core Essentials Graduate from Coach U, a Certified Law of Attraction Advanced Practitioner and a member of the Foster Leaders Movement. She is a sought after speaker on topics surrounding youth in foster care.

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Shenandoah Chefalo

Angelle Barbazon, Publicist
since: 10/2011
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Garbage Bag Suitcase
since: 06/2015
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