This week, nineteen local foster youth were celebrated at Fostering Youth Independence’s (FYI) “Celebration of Everything” for earning high school diplomas, vocational certification, associate’s degrees or college degrees. Licence.
The event also celebrated the 84 volunteers who are making a difference in the lives of young people.
About 150 people gathered for the celebration, honoring the graduates. Seven young people graduated from high school, six obtained an associate degree and five obtained a bachelor’s degree. One of them has also obtained certification as a pharmacy technician.
“This year’s event is particularly significant as it is our fifth anniversary,” explained Executive Director and Co-Founder Carolyn Olsen. “And meanwhile, we and our supporters helped 120 foster youth in Santa Clarita with their education and other needs, working to overcome the challenges that so many in the foster care system face.
Scholarships were presented by the Rotary Club of Santa Clarita Valley to six associate graduates who transfer to universities and nursing schools to complete their education.
Jason Downs, President of the Rotary Satellite Club, explained that his organization is deeply committed to youth empowerment and that FYI’s support of local adoptive youth is a perfect fit with their community support activities.
“Our young people have been through so much already, and to have persevered through this pandemic has been nothing short of amazing. This is why we particularly wanted to highlight the new graduates. Going through all of this and being able to graduate from high school or college shows the strength and determination of these young people,” Olsen said.
According to FYI, only 55% of youth in foster care graduate from high school. Outcomes of former foster youth are poor, with half becoming homeless or incarcerated within two years of leaving the system. Only 4% obtain a baccalaureate and unemployment and poverty rates are high.
“FYI and our incredible allies and volunteers are working hard to break this cycle for young people in foster care,” Olsen said.
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