Dreaming, Reaching and Achieving

Foster Youth Celebrate Major Milestones
by
Marie Hughes, Education Support Services Manager, and Jazz Allensworth, TAY FAP Coordinator
June, 21, 2016 -

Caring for teenagers is oftentimes the ride of a lifetime! They are growing and developing into even more independent people, while at the same time still looking for guidance and direction. It can be challenging to know how to support your teen, in the midst of this often tumultuous stage of development. But while challenging, there is nothing quite like seeing them succeed at something they have worked really hard to earn. And recently, we got to celebrate some of our youths' educational success. It’s been a humbling experience to see all of these youths’ hard work pay off. And we are so grateful for support they have all received along their way--the parents, foster parents, social workers, friends, family, teachers, counselors and other adults who have been championing them on and providing them the right amount of guidance, so they were able to reach their goals.

FCNI is happy to announce that:

  • We have celebrated 37 high school graduates this year, several of which have received both merit-based and need-based scholarships to further their education!
  • We have also had nearly 30 youth begin their post-secondary journey!
  • One of our recent vocational graduates was named the top performing student in his trade program, out of 200 students, and he landed a full-time position with excellent pay and benefits, right after graduation!
  • Three of our recent bachelor’s degree graduates have been accepted into graduate programs!
  • One of our youth has just completed her Master’s degree!

All of these accomplishments were of course due to the dedication and hard work of each of the students; however after speaking with each of them, they all were able to identify at least one positive adult who influenced their success and supported them in the journey. Many of you reading this are the ones they named.

Every youth in our care has an amazing story to share--they’ve all overcome so much to achieve what they have. Below, is Luke’s story, a young man in our Transitional Age Youth Financial Assistance Program (TAY-FAP) who not only overcame a lot, but dreamed outside of the box when planning for his future. Luke proves that while every foster youth is different, so are their goals, truly reflecting that education is not one-size-fits-all.

When Luke began working with TAY-FAP, his underlying goal was to become a "contributing member of society." He consistently worked in construction and maintained a strong academic record during his time at Hancock College, but began to realize he enjoyed hands-on work so much more.

Luke began networking and did exhaustive research into different career fields. Meanwhile, he continued to work full-time and was able to save $5000 independently, to contribute toward his career goals. With the help of TAY-FAP, Luke was fully funded for his educational opportunity and equipped with the tools of the trade he needed to pursue his career!

In Fall of 2015, Luke was accepted into Northwest Lineman College, where he excelled. Luke does nothing halfheartedly. He graduated 1st in his class out of 200 students and received "The Best of the Best" and "Golden Eagle" awards. Within one week of graduating, he was hired at a power company out of state and currently works a well-paying job with a competitive benefits package.

The next time your power lines are down, please think of Luke, a young man who has proven himself to be much more than a "contributing member of society." We are very proud of him!

With the school year having wound down and summer coming in full swing, be sure to enjoy the young people in your life, and don’t grow tired of encouraging them to achieve their goals. They are soaking up everything you tell them, even if you feel like the headphones are always in and the eye rolls have replaced all eye contact.

Thank you for being champions for the youth in your lives, you are truly making a positive difference!