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David Ambroz to Deliver Keynote Address at USC Social Work 2024 Commencement Ceremony

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is excited to welcome national poverty and child welfare expert and best-selling author David Ambroz as keynote speaker for its 2024 Commencement Ceremony on May 10. Growing up homeless and then in foster care, Ambroz beat the odds through education, and has dedicated his life and career to advocacy for foster youth, child poverty and youth experiencing homelessness. He is the co-founder of Fostermore, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles focused on changing the conversation around the foster care system through individual, community and corporate action. 

In his vivid memoir “A Place Called Home,” winner of a 2023 Nautilus Book Award, Ambroz shares a deeply personal account of his incredible journey from homeless, malnourished child on the streets of New York City to high-level executive recognized by President Obama as an American Champion of Change. He is currently the Head of Community Engagement (West) for Amazon.

“Humbled to address the next generation of social workers and advanced practice nurses,” Ambroz said. “It is my deepest wish that my experiences as a foster youth will provide valuable insights and drive their dedication to make a difference. Every child a social worker assists carries the potential to change the world, and that support is their stepping stone.”

During his term as president of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission, Ambroz led efforts to pass ground breaking policy related to homelessness, including the Mobility 2035 Plan, Home Sharing Ordinance, Permanent Supportive Housing Ordinance, Interim Motel Conversion Ordinance and reducing the linkage fee for affordable housing. He has served as a member of the California Child Welfare Council, and the Commission on Youth at Risk for the American Bar Association. His advocacy work has contributed to numerous policy development efforts, including the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, the Extended Foster Care Program allowing eligible youth in California to remain in foster care until age 21, protection for LGBTQ+ foster youth, and ensuring access to and success in higher education for former foster youth. 

“David’s work is important to ensuring the next generation is able to thrive,” said Vassilios Papadopoulos, interim dean of USC Social Work. “I am inspired by his personal resilience and dedication to creating positive opportunities for children and youth, and our graduates will benefit from his knowledge and experience as they set forth to be advocates for change.”

Ambroz is also an Emmy-nominated producer and a member of the Television Academy. He previously served as executive director for corporate social responsibility at Walt Disney Television. 




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