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.

How We Help

For more than 100 years, SCO has delivered programs and services to New York’s most under-resourced communities, offering long-term, life-changing results.

Through our vast network of programs, we offer a continuum of care and services that gets young children off to a good start, launches youth into adulthood, stabilizes and strengthens families, and unlocks potential for children and adults with special needs.

Our clients are at the heart of everything we do.  And we are with them every step of the way during their journey, helping to open doors to opportunities, gain access to resources, and improve the quality and well-being of their lives.

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

Antoinette’s Story

Morning Star

"They helped me learn how to be myself, then how to be a mom." Learn More

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