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.

RaShaan’s Story

RaShaan was a resilient young adult when he came into SCO’s Foster Care program over a year ago, unsure of the future and longing for stability. Though he initially stepped into our residential group home with apprehension, it soon became a haven where he formed bonds and found constant support. RaShaan was relieved he finally had a place to call home.

Rashaan was assigned a Forward Journey coach, Arzu, who works with him on his education, career, and life skill goals. As Rashaan puts it, “She’s the person I call for anything and everything.”

When he first came into care, he wasn’t enrolled in school, didn’t have a job, and was unsure of the paths he wanted to follow. Arzu encouraged him to go back to get his GED and connected him to SCO’s Mentored Internship Program (MIP).

In MIP, Rashaan was able to work on his resume, cover letter, interview skills, and network. After completing MIP, he continues to receive support through SCO’s Passages to Adulthood program, where he learns independent living skills and interns – gaining real world job experience.

Under a steadfast mentorship, RaShaan reignited his educational drive, pursuing his GED with an aspiration to excel in the performing arts. With skills sharpened through SCO’s programs to support youth in care, he stands at the threshold of a bright future, enriched by invaluable experiences and friendships.

Admin Council Meeting & Holiday Breakfast

Jasmine’s Story

Foster Care staff helps Jasmine turn lived experience to advocacy for others

It was the staff’s unwavering support and positive reinforcement that sustained me. Learn More

RaShaan’s Story

Reigniting educational drive through mentorship opportunities

“She’s the person I call for anything and everything.” Learn More

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children get ready for kindergarten

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children and young adults through foster care programs

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