Lyric Ross, who plays the role of “Deja” on NBC’s “This Is Us” will be in Lakeland Saturday at 10 a.m. for a meet-and-greet event at One More Child, a division of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes.

Ross’s character is a troubled teen in foster care who eventually gets adopted, and the local event with the 15-year-old actress is designed to  bring awareness to foster care around the nation.

Ross talked with LkldNow about what playing the role of Deja has meant to her and gave some advice for teens struggling in foster care.

What was your personal experience or knowledge of foster care prior to playing the role of Deja?

Lyric: I don’t have any experience with foster care and to be honest I didn’t know much. With every character I portray, I study them as much as I can. With Deja, even though I’ve never been through anything like that before, I tried to put myself in her situation and studied foster care and what she went through. It wasn’t comfortable knowing other kids are going through this in this world.

How has your perception changed since being on the show?

Lyric: I never thought about adoption and foster care as much as I do now. Now that I am playing a character that is going through all this stuff, I understand it more and I feel more deeply for it and the kids out there who are going through this type of stuff.

In your role, Deja had some difficulties and struggles; what advice would you give to a teen struggling in foster care?

Lyric: I kind of just learned this myself, but I would tell them to pray. My mom would always be the person to tell me to pray and I would be like, “That’s not gonna do nothing. That’s not gonna change nothing.” And then I did. I was going through a lot for some reason and I went into my closet and I started praying and I started balling (crying). After that prayer I felt so much better and so much lighter because all that stuff on my mind was unnecessarily heavy.

What would you say to someone who is interested in fostering or adopting a child?

Lyric: You can change a life forever. Fostering or adopting a child is life-changing and you are probably going to save a kid’s life.

What has getting to play the role of Deja meant to you personally?

Lyric: From what I was doing before I never would have thought that I would be here right now. To be here portraying this type of character and getting all this feedback from people who went through what this character went through. I am so blessed.

Reserve tickets to the One More Child meet-and-greet with Lyric Ross at OneMoreChild.Org. There will be kids’ crafts, refreshments and the opportunity to take a celebrity photo.

While in Lakeland, Ross will also be a special guest for The Blended Families Foundation’s Sneakers Ball on Sunday.


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