Winther Polk

5+ years in Foster Care

25 years old


Winther Polk earned a Bachelor’s degree from Columbia College as a first generation college graduate in 2020. She plans to return to school to obtain a Master’s degree in Library Applied Science or Information Science, with the hope of becoming a librarian. Winther also has ambitions to pursue entrepreneurship and to become a Black-owned business mentor to underserved communities. She hopes to use her education and experiences to be a mentor for young people in foster care. She currently works as a library clerk for the city of Chicago.

In her work at the library, Winther has led numerous media-based educational workshops for her community. She teaches skills for multimedia storytelling, such as acting, video production, and podcasting, and empowers her students to use those skills to share their own stories. Winther is also the co-director of Nerdy Media, a nonprofit organization in Chicago that empowers youth with “nerdy” interests to gain 21st century skill development. She is a frequent volunteer in her community and takes every opportunity she can to support less privileged individuals, including her involvement in a coat drive and distributing food to unhoused individuals. Additionally, Winther has been a part of several organizations for foster youth and alumni.

Winther spent several years in foster care, including some experience in group homes. Her time in foster care led her to prioritize her education, so that she could defy expectations and rise above statistics. Now a mother to a young son, Winther is motivated to pass on her love and dedication to education and lead by example every day. During her time in foster care, Winter connected with many mentors and supportive adults, and she strives to pay it forward and encourage other young people who experience foster care to reach their full potential.

Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2022 Outstanding Young Leaders