“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
One of the greatest joys I have in my role as the Education Services Manager, is witnessing the young people I work with discover both their passion in life and how to pursue it in a meaningful way. Assisting foster youth as they transition into adulthood takes a multi-dimensional approach. Similar to most other young adults, oftentimes young people who have been in the foster care system are eager to do their own thing upon turning 18. They are so eager, in fact, that they often decline available services and support which are intended to help them successfully launch into independent adult living. Thankfully, we are able to offer them ongoing support, through a variety of methods, once they are ready to receive it.
We are so fortunate to have a county that is filled with multiple county agencies, community-based organizations, local community foundations and service groups, along with private donors who all believe in our local youth and routinely provide both financial and relational support to help our young people move forward in their educational and career development. Below, one of our current Independent Living Program (ILP) and Transitional Age Youth Financial Assistance (TAY-FAP) participant shares her story, detailing how a simple little reminder that she could still receive support made a life-changing difference for her future!
I graduated High school in June of 2016 and decided I didn't need ILP support at the time. I went on to help manage a shoe store working full-time hours. A year after [graduation], I received a birthday card from Celia (my previous ILP Case Manager) and I realized I wanted to enroll into school. I got in contact with Celia not too soon after to talk about a plan to get me where I needed to be. I knew what I wanted to do--hair and makeup. About a month after [my discussion with Celia], I was officially enrolled at Design School of Cosmetology in Paso Robles.
ILP helped me get in contact with the TAY-FAP program and since then they have teamed up to help me become successful. They have helped me with not only tuition [to go to] school, but [they have] also helped me with my living expenses such as gas, rent and car insurance. Being in school full-time, five days a week has lowered my availability to work, and with the help I get from [TAY-FAP], I am able to pursue my educational and career goals. They not only help me financially but also mentally, allowing me to focus on my future career.
My experiences in Cosmetology School have been very good, besides [experiencing] some struggle and frustration I have learned so much already and can see the difference in my work. My teachers have been very supportive and very flexible with anything that happens to pop up during the week. I am excited to see my dream of being a cosmetologist come true, and where my career will take me. My hopes and dreams being in this field are to become successful, doing something I love to do and to be able to support not only myself but my family as well. I plan to work to the best of my ability and always make an effort to learn something new each day.
[Not only did this youth receive support through FCNI’s programs, but she was also recently awarded a scholarship through San Luis Obispo Rotary Club.]
The Rotary Daybreak Scholarship I received will also help me further my education by allowing me to take additional classes [which] will let me go outside of school and become more educated. I am planning to learn eyelash extensions, which have become very popular. Also, on June 19th, I will be giving back to foster youth by volunteering my work as a Cosmo student to them at my school, offering services such as haircuts and styles, and painting nails. I'm more than excited to experience this and help out my peers. With the support of ILP, TAY-FAP, and the Rotary Daybreak scholarship, I am more stable and focused on making my dreams a reality and becoming a successful individual.