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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Shirley Chisholm Early Childhood Center

The Shirley Chisholm Early Childhood Center offers a year-round, full day academic program in a safe and engaging environment for children ages 2.9 months to 5 years of age, including UPK and 3K for All. Literacy and math activities help children gain the skills for future school success. A wide array of physical activities and outdoor play help children develop strength, balance and motor skills. Art, music and drama round out the day. All children receive healthy and nutritious meals each day – breakfast, lunch and snack

Our programs support English, dual-language learners, and children with IEPs. Families are engaged to become active partners in supporting their child’s language development.

This program is associated with...

A Vibrant Brownsville

Brownsville, Brooklyn is a vibrant, evolving, and unique neighborhood; and SCO is proud of our partnership with the community for over three decades.  Read More

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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

Last year,

97%

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