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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The Christopher School

The Christopher School is a New York State certified special education school that provides a therapeutic and residential setting for children with developmental disabilities who require 24-hour supervision and who have been placed, or are at risk of being placed, in residential schools outside New York State. With the right combination of support, guidance and care, the children are able to participate in a safe and integrated educational environment. Located in the Bronx, the school allows the children to maintain close contact with their families and communities. When the youth reaches 21 years of age, SCO provides a smooth transition to a carefully chosen adult placement.

Success Stories

Declan’s Forever Family

"Adopting Declan was life-changing. You felt the ground shift." 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

We help

2,000

children get ready for kindergarten

3

new locations for our Day Habilitation program are helping 40% more adults with developmental disabilities attain higher levels of socialization and independence