Kent State student to speak in front of Congress

Neville Hardman

Keri Richmond, a Kent State student, will speak in front of Congress about child welfare laws on Tuesday.

Richmond, a sophomore public relations major, has been interning in Washington, D.C. as a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s Foster Youth Internship Program for 10 weeks this summer.

Richmond said she saw the internship opportunity on Facebook and applied three days before the deadline. The waiting was nerve-racking and she took extra care to make sure her phone was with her all day, she said.

Upon her arrival to D.C., Richmond spent two months researching and working on a policy report that she will deliver to Congress.

“We learn a lot about the language and how law works,” Richmond said.

Twelve people present their recommendations to Congress on Capitol Hill to encourage change in foster care.

Richmond’s policy report focuses on fixing foster care access to extracurricular activities. She will speak for three minutes, going into her presentation “confident and hopeful.”

“I feel lucky that I get the opportunity to share my experience with Congress,” Richmond said. “It’s surreal.”

As someone formerly in foster care, Richmond said getting involved in extracurriculars helped build her as a person.

Before her D.C. internship, Richmond started a campaign to raise money for children in northeast Ohio foster homes.

Decorated duffle bags containing items like coloring books and messages were put together so foster children could have something of their own.

As her 21st birthday approached, Richmond decided one of her goals was to raise enough money for 21 bags. She told her friends not to get her anything and just donate to the cause. Donations flew in, she said.

“I never imagined that I’d be in D.C. and have this opportunity,” Richmond said. “It’s definitely a blessing and I’m thankful.”

Richmond returns to Kent on Thursday after interning with Senator Rob Portman’s office.

Contact Neville Hardman at [email protected]