Saturday, May 02, 2009

Making college more accessible for foster care youth in Ohio

As a former foster child, current youth advocate and co-founder of the Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America....I am so excited about this Ohio Reach May 12th event!

Back in 1989, when I entered college as a 16-year-old ward of the state in the custody of a legal guardian named Mrs. Virginia Combs, there were NO foster care liaisons.

There was only an admissions counselor at the University of Kentucky named Randy Mills who read my transcript, reviewed my ACT scores, met with me in person, and decided to take a chance on me.

I grabbed that chance, and ran with it. Mr. Mills didn't know that I would finish college and graduate school. He could not predict that one day I'd be offered the privilege of being a state leader in a national organization that exists to connect former foster children and positively transform the child welfare system.

Ohio Reach is important because there are 1,300 young adults "aging out" of the Ohio foster care system this year. They will face the adult world, in the midst of a recession, armed with only their courage, their dreams, and their endless potential.

If one person in their lives invests in them and offers guidance, without wanting anything in return, as they try to obtain the higher education that can pave the way for their future, that can make ALL the difference in terms of their future.

The goal of this project is to establish foster care liaisons at every Ohio community college and university, in order to address recruitment and retention of emancipated foster youth in Ohio’s higher education system.