Cameron, Theresa 1954-

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CAMERON, Theresa 1954-

PERSONAL: Born January 29, 1954, in Buffalo, NY. Ethnicity: "African American." Education: State University of New York—Buffalo, B.S., 1976; University of Michigan, M.U.P., 1977; Harvard University, D.Des., 1991. Hobbies and other interests: Housing, fundraising, sports.

ADDRESSES: Home—3301 South Terrace Rd., Tempe, AZ 85282. Office—School of Planning and Landscape Architecture, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 872005, Tempe, AZ 85287-2005. Agent—George Thompson, Box 836, 80 South Main St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER: Philip Thompson and Associates, Portland, OR, project developer, 1978-79; City and County of San Francisco, CA, planner, 1979-82; community development consultant, San Francisco, CA, 1983-85; Boston Redevelopment Authority, Boston, MA, housing analyst, 1986-89; University of Colorado—Denver, visiting assistant professor of architecture and planning and member of Diversity Task Force, 1991-92; Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp., Boston, MA, planner, 1992-93; Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, visiting assistant professor of city and regional planning, 1993-96; University of Florida, Gainesville, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, 1996-97; Arizona State University, Tempe, assistant professor, 1997-2000, associate professor of planning and landscape architecture, 2000—. Sea Port Business Development Center, research advisor, 1978-79; Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp., community development consultant, 1988-89. Canine Companions for Independence, fund-raising organizer in Colorado, 1992-93; Southside Community Center, Ithaca, NY, fund-raising organizer, 1993-95; Interagency Case Management Project, board member, 2000—; Gabriel's Angels (pet therapy organization), fund-raiser and volunteer pet therapist with abused and at-risk children, 2001—.

MEMBER: American Association of University Women, Urban Affairs Association.

AWARDS, HONORS: Fellow of Urban League, 1975-76.


Foster Care Odyssey: A Black Girl's Story (memoir), University Press of Mississippi (Jackson, MS), 2002.

Contributor to books, including Shelter, Women, and Development: First and Third World Perspectives, edited by H. Dandekar, George Wahr Publishing (Ann Arbor, MI), 1993. Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals, including Policy Studies Journal, Urban Geography, AIDS and Public Policy Journal, and Journal of Health and Social Policy.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A sequel to her memoir of life in foster care; research on single-room-occupancy hotel housing for single adults and welfare reform; research on the history of housing associations in England, Canada, and the United States; research on community-based housing in the United States and England; research on environmental justice and the siting of hazardous waste materials.

SIDELIGHTS: Theresa Cameron told CA: "I wrote Foster Care Odyssey: A Black Girl's Story to deal with the shame I felt about my out-of-wedlock birth. For much of my life, I felt like nobody's little girl. I was abandoned at birth and spent the next eighteen years as a ward of New York State. A lifetime of hollow emotions nearly eroded my soul until one day I started writing about foster care and how it shaped my life. Initially I thought I'd have very little to say, but a friend convinced me my story was worth telling. Dredging up long-dormant memories about a painful childhood was emotionally wrenching, but it helped me to overcome the shame of foster care. I wrote Foster Care Odyssey not only to help myself, but also to inspire others. Thousands of men, women, and children of all races and backgrounds are scarred by foster care. Through my own strong will and indomitable spirit I found the courage to persevere. I hope readers who've endured sorrow can draw strength from my book.

"To write Foster Care Odyssey, I forced myself to write for at least one hour every day. The State of New York long ago destroyed all records pertaining to my tenure in foster care. Furthermore, I lost contact with everyone from my youth. Thus, I had to rely on my memory, and that was a very arduous process, one that tired me physically and emotionally. For inspiration I focused on the kindness of a few thoughtful people in my youth. These included teachers, classmates, and friends who believed I would someday rise above the despair that buried me most of my life."



Publishers Weekly, April 8, 2002, review of Foster Care Odyssey: A Black Girl's Story, p. 224.