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.

Wilson’s Story

You don’t always know you have a gift. People said Wilson was special for solving a Rubik’s cube in under a minute. He just thought he was good at puzzles. People said he had amazing confidence on the piano for a five-year-old. He just thought music was fun. His experience at Westbrook Preparatory School taught him that people can have many gifts-and that discovering them within yourself can change every aspect of your life.

Before attending Westbrook, life was different for Wilson at school, where he felt lost, misunderstood, uninterested, and socially out of place. He was down on his luck, longing for focus, friendships, fun, and rediscovering his confidence playing the piano. At Westbrook, Wilson formed new friendships and rediscovered his strength and confidence to excel in both the academic and social worlds.

The nurturing environment at Westbrook continues to drive momentous goals for Wilson – from helping him thrive in school, to preparing him for a successful future career. Wilson landed a position as an IT intern, enabling him to continue following his passion for technology.

Today, he is playing the piano with full confidence, challenging himself with pieces of Chopin and Wagner. He excels in his classes, loves taking part in sports such as the student-staff football competition, and has rediscovered an interest in exciting and eye-opening subjects including computers, cooking, and chess.

“Thanks to SCO Family of Services and Westbrook Preparatory School for being part of my success story,” said Wilson.

YouTube Link

Wilson playing Billy Joel on the piano.

 

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Community Outreach Service Center

The Community Outreach Service Center provides employment and entitlement assistance along with other supportive services for the SRO residents on SCO’s Ottilie campus, as well as other dual-diagnosed young adults living in the community.

Who Can Benefit from this Program

Young adults with SED needing help with benefits, housing, employment or leisure time activities

Age Criteria

18-24 years of age

How to Access this Program or Service

Walk in or referral via our SCO Supported SRO Program

Success Stories

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

Wilson’s Story

You don’t always know you have a gift.

“Thanks to SCO Family of Services and Westbrook Preparatory School for being part of my success story,” said Wilson. Learn More

Last year,

97%

of children in our early education centers met or exceeded national literacy performance standards

368

participants in our Young Adult Workforce Program at Rikers Island completed our program to become licensed drivers to improve their employability

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