Speaking Out Today
While Making Changes
For Tomorrow

Celebrating 25 years of advocacy for the youth of North Carolina
March 4, 2023
8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
In-Person EVENT
SaySo Saturday 2023

It is always held on the first Saturday of March. The day is full of great workshops and cool opportunities to meet new people and share awesome ideas.

Save the date and help us celebrate!


What does SaySo stand for/mean?

SaySo, Strong Able Youth Speaking Out, is a statewide association of youth ages 14 to 24 who are or have been in the substitute care system in North Carolina. This includes all types of substitute care, such as foster care, group homes, and mental health placements.


Substitute care is more than just fostering youth!

Substitute Care Awareness, Information and Education

Did you know the term “foster care” speaks to only one type of care that takes place within the child welfare system? There is also kinship care, group homes, and therapeutic placements just to name a few. Knowing this, we encourage people to use the term “substitute care” when appropriate. The term substitute care acknowledges the range of care situations in which our youth live. One of the first steps to authentic youth engagement is to acknowledge that each of them has a unique experience. No two stories are the same!


How long has SaySo NC been around?

Founded in 1998 by a stakeholder group of older youth in care, adult caregivers, and adult professionals, SaySo has been recognized with respect in North Carolina and nationally as a youth-driven advocacy organization. Our founding members felt youth needed to be more involved in advocating and policy development for young people in substitute care.


What does SaySo North Carolina do anyway?

Our mission is to educate the community, advocate for necessary changes, and support youth who are or have been in substitute care.

Awareness of Community Needs and Youth Support

 We understand that strong relationships and support systems are an essential part of your transition into adulthood. We help you build a foundation for these support systems by providing opportunities for you to speak with community partners, future social workers, and other adults in the field. We believe that in order for youth to navigate the community around them, there must be an awareness and understanding of their experiences.


Providing support and making sure youth feel seen and heard.


What does SaySo NC aim to accomplish for youth in the state?

SaySo is one of several programs within CHS that works to prevent youth in care from becoming a statistic. SaySo helps to prepare them for independence and a brighter future.


Creating real and lasting legislative change takes all of us.

Creating Change with Advocacy and Legislation Education

Although there are a lot of well-meaning people who want to help youth, it is sometimes difficult for them to make decisions that are truly helpful. Especially when they have not heard from someone experiencing the situation they are hoping to change. In other words, it is hard for people to make accurate decisions for youth in substitute care if they have not heard the voices of youth in care. 

SaySo gives you an opportunity to speak for yourself! 

In the past, our youth have attended legislative sessions, acted as government pages, and spoken with Guardian Ad-litems. We also have youth who participate in various state-level workgroups to push for change within the child welfare system.

If speaking in front of people makes you nervous, we are here to support you! Before you go to any speaking engagement, we help you figure out what the event is about, what you want to say, and how you can say it in a way to help people understand. After each speaking engagement, we will take the time with you to discuss how you felt about the experience.

We are here to support you from beginning to end!


Who are the youth that SaySo serves in North Carolina?

Comprised of youth ages 14 to 24 who are or have been in the substitute care system, SaySo empowers youth to find their voices, discover their resiliencies, and advocate for the rights of youth in out-of-home care.

SaySo currently serves over 750 youth statewide.

Your support is vital to the ongoing success of SaySo!


What types of services do you offer to the youth of North Carolina?

SaySo helps youth learn life skills, as well as build strong positive relationships with their peers, and connections with supportive adults, all critical steps towards self-sufficiency and success.



How Can I Find Out About Getting Involved, Supporting And Helping SaySo NC?

Find out more about the mission, vision, and values of the SaySo organization.

Register to volunteer and be a part of SaySo-related events and awareness initiatives.

Donate and watch your support do good for in-care youth in North Carolina. Support SaySo and become involved in advocating for foster care-related legislation in NC.

Working together to support youth in care and foster-care alumni.

Sign up. Get informed. Donate. Get Involved!


Spreading the word about the many ways we can support youth in foster care creates lasting change.

Celebrating 25 Years of Advocacy

From the beginning, our purpose has been a singular one – to support and advocate for the youth of North Carolina that have experienced being in substitute care at any point in their lives. Regardless of circumstances, we are here to help and serve no matter what form that support takes.

Young Adult Advocate of the Year Award

We are pleased to announce the annual Young Adult Advocate of the Year award in memory of Antonio Massenburg. Antonio (better known as Tony) was a member of the SaySo Board of Directors, now known as the Young Adult Leadership Council, from 2017-2019. Tony was an avid advocate for system change. He served a two-year term as the co-chair of the board, participated in the legislative page program and was the keynote
speaker for SaySo events. Tony had a passion for people and encouraged everyone he met. Even on the toughest days, he could make you smile. He encouraged others to be their best. Tony’s legacy will continue for years to come.

To be eligible for this award, the Youth or Young Adult should be between 14-24 years old, was or is in some type of substitute care, and will attend SaySo Saturday.


Now Accepting Applications!

Kaleb Joshua Rancer Award

On behalf of their son, Kaleb, the Rancer family will give out 2 awards of up to $1,000. The Kaleb Joshua Rancer Scholarship is an annual memorial scholarship on behalf of Kaleb, who passed away, given to SaySo participants through the Rancer’s nonprofit called KidsCare4Kids. To be eligible for this scholarship, youth must have been in foster care as a teen (14 and older), be involved with LINKS and/or SaySo, and must submit an essay as well as a recommendation.


Now Accepting Applications!

FEB 19, 2023
TIME: 4 pm – 7 pm

Dinner and Speed Friending

Join us and you might just make a new friend!

MARCH 25, 2023

It’s My Transition (Event)

Cumberland County

8 NC LINKS Outcomes

The NC LINKS program was created primarily for youth ages 18 to 21 and for other teens who were in foster care. The name LINKS is not an acronym and does not “stand” for anything. Instead, it is a word that captures the need to build a network of relevant services with youth so that they will have ongoing connections with family, friends, mentors, the community, employment, education, financial assistance, skill training, and other resources to facilitate the transition to adulthood.

Youth ages 13-21 who are, or were, in foster care may request LINKS services from their county’s local Department of Social Services. Youth ages 13-21 who are, or were, in foster care may request LINKS services from their county’s local Department of Social Services.


HEARTH Beyond ensures youth ages 18-24 who are experiencing homelessness have a safe place to live while focusing on achieving their educational and professional goals. Youth Focus
works with area landlords to find safe, affordable housing for the youth with a lease in the youth’s name.

This provides two important things:

  1. Establishment of rental history: The youth can remain in their home after completing the program.

    Youth Focus provides whatever amount of rent assistance is needed throughout their time in the program with the goal of the youth taking
    increasing responsibility until they can sustain the rent on their own.
  2. While enrolled, these young adults will receive vocational and educational support and targeted case management to help build independent living skills, so they can ensure long-term success after graduating from the program.

While enrolled, these young adults will receive vocational and educational support and targeted case management to help build independent living skills, so they can ensure long-term success after graduating from the program.

They also help youth ages 18-24 with rental assistance.

For more information:
Phone number: 336.907.3830


New Opportunity for Help With Housing

We Would Like To Thank Our Wonderful Donors

The work that we do is possible because of those that advocate, volunteer, and donate to our cause.
We want to send sincere thanks for your efforts.

Barbara Dobner
Bethany Willard
Betty Alexander
Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC
Brayton Family
Charitable Foundation
Diane Evia-Lanevi
Eaton Corporation
Elizabeth Bader
Ellenor Rollins Greensboro
Seventh-day Adventist Church

Hallies Comet Productions
Harris Teeter – Store 136
Harris Teeter – Store 289
Harris Teeter – Store 319
Harris Teeter – Store 69
It’s 4 the Kids Foundation
Jewelry Unique
Accessories & Boutique

Junior League of Raleigh, Inc.
Kat McDivitt
Kay Clark
Lei Lei’s Cuisine
Mary Thompson
Melissa Radcliff
MetLife Foundation
Morning Star Baptist Church
Mr. and Mrs. Wayne
A. Moss
Old Navy Store #5847
Reach Ministries

Rebecca C. Shore
Right Fit Storage
Roslyn Lentz
Savita Love
Sonja Matheny
Tiffany Marshall
Triangle Park NC Chapter, The Links, Inc.
Truist Bank
United Apostolic Church of Prayer
Veronica Pettis

Interested in becoming a donor?

Donate and watch your support do good for in-care youth in North Carolina.

Contact us at: sayso@chsnc.org