banner ad

Former Foster Youth become College Bound

| June 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

Over 60 transition age foster youth who have overcome the odds to head for college will have the opportunity to start their journey with help and support from Just in Time for Foster Youth (JIT) through its College Bound service. College Bound provides young people with everything they need to succeed in all aspects of their college experiences, including school supplies, electronics, household items and a community to provide ongoing support. JIT will host the College Bound kick-off “pep rally” at the San Diego Central Library on Saturday, June 15, 2019 with the College Bound Awards following on Saturday, June 29, 2019.

During this “JIT University” collegiate-themed event, first-time College Bound participants will receive a laptop and printer as well as significant information to navigate their upcoming college experience. Each participant also goes on a shopping spree with the help from a volunteer coach.  The coach will also support them through their entire college journey to make sure they have all the essentials they need to help them thrive in school – all the way to attending graduation. Over the two days, College Bound gives transition age foster youth the platform to make new friends, gain confidence to thrive, learn about other JIT services and create a network of support lasting for years to come.

“Before College Bound, I was ready to hide my identity as a foster youth because of all the pain and shame it brought me in the past. Being surrounded by similarly driven foster youth, hearing the inspirational stories of my new peers and meeting caring adults that were invested in my success during College Bound changed that for me,” said Virgo Villajin, College Bound participant and Youth Services Coordinator at Just in Time for Foster Youth. “I found a community that made it a priority to support me and celebrate my success. Taking ownership of my story helped me focus and graduate from SDSU with my B.S. in Biology. Without College Bound, I don’t think I would’ve realized how good it feels to be celebrated.”

JIT is a nonprofit that engages a caring community to help transition age foster youth, ages 18-26, achieve self-sufficiency and well-being. The intention of College Bound is to exceed the level of support provided by essential school supplies and further encourage participants to gain a sense of belonging and help them understand that they have the talent to compete with their peers in all aspects of the college experience. This service provides resources to help former foster youth experience a successful and more comfortable transition into college. 

Nationally, college graduation rates for youth in foster care are three-to-six percent. After participating in College Bound, 80 percent of youth remain enrolled into their third year. In addition, 33 percent of youth graduate after four years and 45 percent of youth graduate after six years, which compares with the 41 percent four-year national graduation rate and 60% six-year national graduation rate for non-foster youth. College Bound helps give transition age foster youth peace of mind and the confidence to strive for success in their journey through higher education.

“Over the years, I’ve seen the extraordinary impact this resource has had for the youth we serve,” says JIT Executive Director Don Wells. “Students who were once struggling to decide if they even belonged in higher education have gone on to completing graduate degrees from schools like Duke University and UCLA once they had the resources and support system that every young person needs to succeed.”

For those wishing to continue their education and attain a post-graduate degree, JIT also offers Master Your Dreams Scholarships during College Bound. To date, 100 percent of Master Your Dreams scholars have been successful in attaining their master’s degrees.

To learn more about College Bound, opportunities to invest and how to volunteer, please visit www.jitfosteryouth.org.

Giving foster youth the means to continue their education is critical to their long-term success and well-being.

Tags: , ,

Category: Education, Featured Articles, Local News

About the Author ()

General articles by the Presidio Sentinel and Associated Partners.