Menu Close

Board of Believers (Advisory Board)

Regina Calcaterra


Regina’s affiliation with You Gotta Believe began in 2005 after she learned that there was actually a group of committed individuals who truly believed that older foster children deserve families. Since then she has served as a Board Member, Board Vice President and is now on the Board of Believers.

Regina grew up in the New York State foster care system and aged out parentless at 21. She shares her story and the plight of older foster children in her #1 international best selling memoir Etched in Sand, A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island (HarperCollins Publishing, 2013). As a result of Etched in Sand’s messages of resilience, optimism, the plight of foster children, that no child is a lost cause it has been integrated into college and high school curricula throughout the U.S. and been selected for community reads. She is also co-author of Etched in Sand’s sequel which she wrote with her younger sister Rosie Maloney, Girl Unbroken, A Sister’s Harrowing Journey from the Streets of Long Island to the Farms of Idaho (HarperCollins Publishing, 2016). Girl Unbroken has also been integrated into college curricula alongside Etched in Sand.

Both books have resulted in readers, and those who have heard Regina speak across the U.S., adopting older foster youth and becoming first time foster parents. Her story has also prompted youth to react such as a Long Island teen, Ryan O’Day, creating an annual event called Teens Gotta Believe, where he raises community awareness about the need for adoptive parents for older foster youth in his community and raises funds for You Gotta Believe.

Through You Gotta Believe, Regina became a parent of a young adult who aged out of the NYC foster care system parentless at the age of 21 while putting herself through college. Since then, her daughter who moved in with Regina at the age of 21, graduated college, obtained her Masters of Social Work, is working full time assisting older foster youth aging out of the system, and is building a healthy family of her own– all with the security of a parent who is wholly supportive of her.