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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SCO LGBTQ+ Peer Support Group

Who:
Any SCO youth 13+ who identifies as LGBTQAI+

What:
The LGBTQ+ Support Group is a peer youth group for SCO’s youth who identify under the LGBTQAI+ umbrella. Meetings include community-related discussions where the youth are encouraged to share their experiences with the rest of the group. They are also encouraged to bring along people who are a part of their support system – whether they identify as a part of the community or not. Snacks and refreshments are provided.

Where:
SCO’s Brooklyn Office located at 154 Lawrence Street

When:
Every third Friday of the month, from 4:30PM to 6PM. The next meeting is November 19th.

Why:
Being in foster care is difficult enough. “Coming out” while is care is twice as hard and can leave youth feeling alienated and afraid. SCO’s Forward Journey and Lifeset Departments wanted to create a safe space where SCO youth who identify as LGBTQAI+ can meet peers and support one another.

How:
Contact Gisele Doucet – gdoucet@sco.org, or Sahajja Harris – sharris3@sco.org

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Success Stories

Adam Graves

"Garden of Dreams is the single most important thing we do.” 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

Last year,

94%

of children in our early education centers met or exceeded goals for social-emotional development

We help

1,300

children and young adults through foster care programs

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