Scholarship program helps foster youth succeed
Washington, D.C. — As college costs increase and student loan debt soars, one organization’s unique program helps some of the nation’s most vulnerable young people — those aging out of the foster care system — to attend school without accruing a mountain of debt.
The national nonprofit Foster Care to Success connects the public to deserving college-bound foster youth through its unique Sponsored Scholarship Program. The program — the only one of its kind in the country — offers individuals, foundations and corporations the opportunity to invest in the education and success of a young person. This financial investment is combined with “family-like support” provided by FC2S and a national network of volunteers. This support includes academic and career coaching, personal mentoring, care packages and the opportunity to apply for prestigious internships.
“As a country, we’re telling young people it’s critical they attend college or learn a trade so that they can enter the work force, but expecting a foster youth to succeed without a support system doesn’t make sense economically or socially,” said Eileen McCaffrey, executive director of Foster Care to Success. “People care about foster youth; they just don’t know how to help. We let people invest directly in these young lives by enabling them to sponsor their education and share in their journey toward adulthood and good citizenship.”
According to a June 2012 study, 80 percent of Americans plan on making as large a charitable contribution in 2012 as they did in 2011. However, they want to see results from their donations. They want to know exactly where their money is going, what it does and that the organization to which they contribute is the best in its field. They want to know that they are making a difference.
One hundred percent of every donation made to the FC2S Sponsored Scholarship Program is directly invested in a young person’s education and support. The scholarships have made a difference in the lives of thousands of foster youth since 1991. The program boasts a 62 percent graduation rate — six times the highest estimate for other foster youth nationwide (studies show that less than 10 percent of foster youth attend and graduate from post-secondary programs nationally).
Unfortunately, FC2S can award approximately only 400 scholarships a year, although more than 2,000 deserving young people apply annually. This year, FC2S will have to turn down 1,838 eligible students because of insufficient funding.
“We hope that more people will become involved in our scholarship program because each scholarship awarded helps to change the statistics, raising one more young person out of hopelessness and on to a successful future after foster care,” said Tina Raheem, Foster Care to Success’ Scholarship program director.
“When you give to the Sponsored Scholarship Program, you become part of a young person’s support system,” Raheem added. “Our students thrive because they know somebody believes in them and has invested in their future. They work very hard, and with our volunteers, staff and most importantly sponsors behind them, they graduate and become confident, successful adults.”
Foster Care to Success (formerly the Orphan Foundation of America) is the oldest and largest national organization serving older foster youth. Since 1981 Foster Care to Success has helped more than 50,000 youth attend post-secondary programs and become productive, contributing members of their communities.
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