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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CFL at MS 136/821

After School • Summer Camp

CFL offers a five-day-a-week After School Arts Program for students in grades 6-12 that provides instruction in dance, acting, vocals, percussion, visual arts, and creative writing, along with daily homework assistance, computer access, and academic enrichment.  CFL’s “Life Lines” project is a free, nationally-recognized program that brings together social work, the arts, and education to involve participants in group experiences that promote individual growth and build community. “Life Lines” uses performing and visual arts to give expression to relevant social and emotional themes, promote cultural understanding, and strengthen interpersonal relationships.

A six-week Community Arts Summer Day Camp serves youth ages 10-15. This program includes three days on-site for skill development in the arts and two days off-site for cultural and recreational trips, along with special event days, an overnight ecology camping trip, and an all-camp show.

Who Can Benefit from this Program

Families with children seeking after school, school age child care and summer day camps, service learning and youth leadership activities, job-readiness and youth employment, indoor/outdoor Neighborhood Centers, and parent, family and community special events

Age Criteria or Other Eligibility Requirements

Students in grades 6-12

How to Access this Program or Service

Contact the program director at 718.673.5269

This program is associated with...

Center For Family Life

Our mission is to promote positive outcomes for children, adults and families in Sunset Park through the provision of a comprehensive range of neighborhood-based family and social services. Read More

Success Stories

Jewelle

Madonna Heights Residential School

"I'm not going to give up because I know they're not going to give up on me." Learn More

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

Almost

90%

of clients at our Brooklyn Youth Center achieved their employment goals

87%

of young adults in foster care (18+) are enrolled in school or working

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