May is the month of graduation, with celebrations, proud families, and endless opportunity.
College Fellows™ is our education-based program to guide youth from foster care into college. Nationally, over 70% of these youth want to go to college, only 20% enter college, and under 10% complete college with a post-secondary degree.
“I’ve made the President’s List or Dean’s List every semester, and have framed each certificate and hung it on my wall. I plan to hang my Associates Degree when it arrives too.
Many students toss these things. I’ve had friends ask why I keep mine, and to me, they show how far I’ve come. Milestones are important because the past has dictated that at any given time, I can lose everything. I’m alone and have to make survival a priority.
In the past, I could not fall because I did not have a soft place to land like most people. If I fell, I could lose everything. A break up, car troubles, problems at work, a health issue, etc., could threaten everything at any time.”
In 2017 we enrolled 15 students in College Fellows. We provided academic and emotional support to these youth, most of whom were still in high school, and had no idea that college was a possibility.
During this 2018-19 school year, 10 of the College Fellows students entered Greenville Tech Community College. Seven of the 10 have now completed their first year of college, and are gearing up for their second year. The other three students are moving forward, pursuing viable options that will put them on strong footing for the future.
Foster care doesn’t define who you are. At Fostering Great Ideas, our goal is to show each individual that academic success is theirs for the taking.
“My Associates Degree is an accomplishment I’ve earned. No one or no life circumstance can take away the result of my hard work. Earning my Associates Degree is a milestone. It’s a sigh of relief.
I feel really blessed to have found [Fostering Great Ideas]. I love what you do, and I know you’re touching a lot of lives. Students from situations like mine have so many issues: fear of losing everything, financial difficulties, and psychological and emotional issues that “normal” kids don’t have to deal with. While going to school, I have been in therapy for PTSD from the abandonment I suffered as a kid. I had a lot on my plate, and you guys helped me feel not so alone.”
Todd was a student in our College Fellows program. He just graduated from Greenville Tech and is continuing his education at USC Upstate this fall.