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Lauri Burns

Teen Advocate

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Burns on her abusive and tumultuous upbringing and what led her to becoming an advocate for foster kids and homeless teens with the Teen Project.
Lauri Burns is founder of the Teen Project, a non-profit organization that provides support for teens transitioning out of foster care. Having grown up in turmoil and abuse, Burns became a ward of the court. Like most young adults who age out of the foster care system with no family or home, she found herself spiraling down a road of drugs and dangerous behavior. After seeking help, Burns eventually turned her life around, and at 26 took in her first abused teenager. It was her calling. Eighteen foster children later, Burns realized she couldn’t do it alone. The Teen Project was founded in 2007, offering hundreds of teens support, guidance, and the opportunity for a real future. In addition to her involvement with the Teen Project, Burns has written about her life in her book Punish for Purpose.

More From Lauri

Everyone Is Worthy of Kindness
Burns on how there is no secret worth keeping that protects someone else but hurts you.

A Hub for Homeless Kids
Burns on how the P.A.D. (Protection and Direction) in Venice, California works as a hub within a network of shelters to help locate safe housing for kids.

What Today's Homeless Kids Want
Burns on how homeless kids still utilize the latest technologies to communicate and find information and how it led to innovations with The Teen Project. 

Environment of Non-Trust
Burns on growing up with a dysfunctional family filled with abuse that went ignored.

Cut Off at 18
Burns on the foster care system in America, how most people don't realize what happens once kids turn 18, and how the Teen Project came about.

From Lowest Point to Sobriety
Burns talks about how being an addict affected her ability to mother, and how the worst night of her life may have actually saved her life.

Spiraling Downward
Burns on how she went from drinking, to burglarizing, to becoming a ward of the court.

After Mom Left
Burns talks about how her father's abuse escalated after her mother left and the circumstances it left her in.