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.

Selena’s Story

Selena first came to SCO’s Scattered Site Supportive Housing Program, in August 2017. This program provides housing and transitional services for young adults who have been in foster care and are at-risk of homelessness. Selena, who had been in foster care since age 9, was dealing with a lot of family and personal issues. She was feeling frustrated and depressed. The tipping point came when her biological father passed away.

As a way to help cope with her loss, Selena decided to write a book about her experience. She hoped sharing her experience might inspire others…turning her personal tragedy into something positive. Ever resourceful, Selena wrote her entire book on her cell phone and uploaded it onto Amazon where it is currently sold as a Kindle format e-book.

Selena’s entrepreneurial spirit had been unleashed. Following her book, Selena developed her own podcast where she talks about life issues and how she has dealt with them in the hopes of motivating others. Since establishing her podcast last year, she has attracted over 20,000 followers worldwide.

She didn’t stop there. Selena then decided that she wanted to sell merchandise with inspirational messages. She started her own online t-shirt company – printing, packaging and shipping orders out of her apartment.

Selena has found her calling. She has found healing through sharing her story and inspiring others and she has experienced personal growth in the process.

SCO staff are encouraging her to utilize her abilities and resilience to pursue her education. In doing so, Selena will be able to use her knowledge to promote and expand her budding enterprises and find other employment opportunities to help her as she transitions to independent living.

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Supportive Individual Residential Alternatives

Supportive Individual Residential Alternatives are one or two bed residences for high functioning adults with developmental disabilities who don’t require 24-hour supervision. Staff members assist residents with medical appointments and continue working with these adults to enhance their independent living skills. Residents often attend day programs or work in the community. Our supportive IRAs are located on Long Island.

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

Selena’s Story

Creating Opportunities

Selena has found her calling. She has found healing through sharing her story and inspiring others and she has experienced personal growth in the process. Learn More

87%

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

98%

of the young adults in our Scattered Site Supportive Housing program were gainfully employed, engaged in school, or both

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