Jasmine’s Story

I entered foster care at 16 years old and was placed in the home of “Aunt” Nessa, as I liked to call her. Few people knew of my situation; it was our little secret. I was embarrassed by the family dysfunction that led me to this strange place in my life, and with the support of my SCO caseworkers, I realized that education was my way out.

My goal was to attend Spelman College. I faced some naysayers; guidance counselors who said it was too expensive, others who felt I would never get in. But my SCO caseworkers and staff supported my decision. They stayed on top of me, making sure I filled out every document and scholarship. It was the staff’s unwavering support and positive reinforcement that sustained me.

I was accepted to Spelman with scholarships from several organizations as well as financial support from SCO’s education and permanency program, which helped me afford my housing.

But that was just the start of my journey. During summer break, I earned an internship volunteering with foster youth and their families through AmeriCorps that changed my life. I didn’t want any special treatment, so no one at my job was aware of my status as a foster youth. But as I worked in the family visiting room, much like a fly on the wall, I watched young people about my age visiting with the children they had lost custody of, some pregnant again. I saw a vicious cycle happening before my eyes.

It was that summer I realized that as a woman of color, as a foster youth, and as a human being who just cares, it would be a disservice if I didn’t take advantage of my unique pairing of lived experiences and desire to affect change.

Today, I am at Teachers College Columbia University earning my Masters in Clinical Psychology on a full scholarship, so that I, too, can be a source of support for youth in need.

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Mission

Mother and Daughter

SCO Family of Services envisions communities throughout New York City and Long Island that support family life and personal well-being, where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.

SCO Family of Services helps New Yorkers build a strong foundation for the future. We get young children off to a good start, launch youth into adulthood, stabilize and strengthen families and unlock potential for children and adults with special needs. SCO has provided vital human services throughout New York City and Long Island for 125 years.

Values

  • Compassion – we provide deep empathy and a safe, caring environment that enriches each life we touch
  • Empowerment – we enhance the strengths of individuals, families and communities, providing opportunities to succeed and participate fully in community life
  • Dedication – we do whatever it takes to help people thrive, standing by them no matter the obstacles they face or the challenges they must overcome
  • Acceptance – we embrace each individual’s unique identity
  • Responsiveness – we anticipate and strive to meet the needs of every person and every community we serve, responding to moments of crisis and preventing crises before they occur
  • Family – we embrace families as our partners believing  that families are essential for individuals and communities to flourish
  • Excellence – we dedicate ourselves to the highest standards of practice and performance and strive to achieve excellence and professionalism in all we do
  • Integrity – we pride ourselves on prudence, commitment and accountability
  • Effective – we produce results by motivating and supporting each person and family we serve so they can meet and exceed their personal goals

Jasmine’s Story

From Foster Care to Advocate

Today, I am at Teachers College Columbia University earning my Masters in Clinical Psychology on a full scholarship, so that I, too, can be a source of support for youth in need. Learn More

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100%

of participants in our award-winning Fathers' Program met their goals by improving their relationship with their children, financial commitment to their children, and/or connecting to essential services

340

young adults served by SCO are in college this academic year

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