The local nonprofit Fostering Youth Independence hosted the ‘Celebration of Everything’ to reintroduce the annual volunteer appreciation event that had been postponed due to the pandemic and to celebrate the young foster parents who achieved their diploma.
More than 80 people gathered in the celebrations to thank the organization’s 90 volunteers for supporting the education of local youth and for their patience in obtaining a high school diploma, peer or bachelor’s degree. new graduates. A special feature of the evening was the surprise presentation of a $ 500 scholarship check from the Rotary Club of Santa Clarita Valley to five students.
Carolyn Olsen, Executive Director and Co-Founder of FYI, said: “And welcoming many of the young people we serve there was like a kind of family reunion. It was a reminder of the community created by FYI. Young people connect with other young people who share similar experiences, and caring adults offer support, guidance and friendship to develop young people who need it badly for difficult lives. . Those. “
Olsen further explains: “The last 18 months have been a real challenge for our young people, whether they are learning at a distance, whether they are sick or hospitalized, whether they are unemployed or have to send their younger brother to school. the House. Has been through a lot already, and it was amazing to have survived that half of last year, so I especially wanted to highlight the new graduates. I went through it all and went to high school and college. Being able to get a diploma shows the strength and determination of these young people. We are very proud of them and will continue to support them throughout our next trip. “
The youth graduation for info was particularly impressive, given that only 55% of foster parents graduated from high school. Young foster parents perform poorly, with half being homeless or jailed within two years of leaving the system. Only 4% have a bachelor’s degree, and unemployment and poverty rates are high.
“FYI and our amazing allies are working hard to break this cycle for foster parents,” Olsen explained. “For youth without parental support, the value of dedicated and compassionate adults cannot be overstated. Allies are making a real difference in lives by offering the support and encouragement of foster parents who are short of young people. I am. “
For reference, we also admitted seven 2020 graduates who missed the opportunity to be celebrated when they graduated last spring due to a pandemic.
One of the highlights of the evening was the special presentation of a $ 500 scholarship check to five young FYI students attending a four-year college. Glenn Terry, president of the Rotary Club of Santa Clarita Valley, personally presented the youth with a check with congratulations and praise, as well as several Rotary colleagues. Terry explained that the Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club is deeply committed to youth empowerment and that FYI’s support for local youth development is a great fit for community support.
“We are grateful to the Rotary Club of Santa Clarita Valley for these scholarships for five teens,” said Olsen. “These funds help young people bridge the gap in academic assistance and complete their bachelor’s degree program.”
FYI has served 102 young people since the organization’s inception four years ago. FYI encourages teens in interim foster care in Santa Clarita (ages 16-25) to provide the necessary resources as they grow up in foster care and complete their graduate studies towards becoming an adult. prosperous and independent.
COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenges young people already face. Many young people for info are unemployed and most find it difficult to switch to online learning. The FYI have helped these young people in various ways, but most importantly, the families of those who have nothing. FYI, volunteers and staff also provided emotional support to young people who felt particularly lonely during this time.
The organization accepts donations to support the work with foster parents. These can be sent by visiting the following sites: www.fyifosteryouth.org Alternatively, you can contact FYI at (661) 360-1500.
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