Maryssa Figlioli spent 4 years in Pennsylvania foster care system.

Some people demonstrate almost superhuman daily strength as a matter of instinct. Marissa Figlioli is one of those people. Despite a seemingly endless barrage of obstacles placed in her path, Marissa has not only risen to her challenges but has responded to them by making the lives of the people around her better.

She was placed into foster care at the age of 15 and lived in two different homes. Her second placement she believed was long-term, but at 18 she was asked to leave—rendering her homeless. Maryssa had to move back in with her biological mother—where it was Maryssa work that provided the housing expenses that kept her brothers and sisters out of the foster-care system. And that was while earning As and Bs at college. When Maryssa’s mother was unable to care for the family, Maryssa moved her brother and sister into her home and provided for them without any agency involvement or support.

She continues to devote time to her siblings; she speaks to local foster youth about the positives of staying in care, and she’s on track for her goal of becoming a registered nurse. In the words of Marissa’s caseworker over the last seven years, “I have never had a youth with so many family problems and yet still be able to thrive. This young lady is our future.”

Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2013 Outstanding Young Leaders