CFA’s Scholarships Help Save Foster Youth from Homelessness
12th of August 2021
When a foster youth ages out or emancipates from foster care, they are in their late teen years or early twenties without the support of a permanent family. This is a critical period for any youth, but especially so for a young person with little or no family support.
During this stressful time, youth also lose the government support they had while in the system, and because of this, foster youth are far more likely to experience unemployment, live in poverty, be incarcerated, and/or experience homelessness. The dream of achieving higher education becomes almost unobtainable. Less than 20% of foster youth will enroll in college, compared to 60% of their non-fostered peers. Less than 10% of foster youth who attempt college will graduate. For this reason, the Children’s Foundation of America partnered with incredible leaders to create multiple scholarship funds to help change their odds. In 2020, the Children’s Foundation of America awarded $56,500 in scholarships and educational grants. Click on the links above to learn more about the funds and their namesakes:
During the pandemic, scholarship recipient Henry M. faced having to shift his ambitions to get by. “To be honest, I don’t know what I would do without your help. Thank you so much for helping me through this since 2018,” he said. Youth my reapply until the age of 24 for consistent support as long as they continue to be eligible, which includes maintaining their GPA. CFA trustee and founder of the Patricia Evelyn Knatz Memorial Scholarship Fund stated, “I was just worried that he was going to have to give up his dream of film school.” Our benefactors follow the progress of the scholarship awardees and are invested in their futures. Henry is doing well and is exploring nursing in addition to his passion for the visual arts.
“Not having to worry about the cost of classes, in addition to the cost of various other things, allows me to focus more of my energy towards school. Additionally, I don’t need to rely on my parents for financial support,” says Alex R., a current scholarship recipient.
CFA understands the strength and determination it takes to reach independence and aims to help youth during this time. “The journey of independence has both its ups and downs. Loneliness is one of the biggest challenges that rise to the horizon that seems to stop that goal and sometimes makes it unreachable,” says 2021 scholarship recipient, Nestor G. “The Children’s Foundation of America Scholarship is not only a support system that motivates you to not let yourself give up by providing some financial stability during your academic school year as well as a support system in which we could communicate any concerns. After all, they say that with support and a little encouragement, one can accomplish anything; and also makes the journey a bit less lonely.”
In a report by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, “70% of foster youth aspire to attend college but their access and success in postsecondary education remains low.” With tuition increasing by 80% since 2000, the need for funding to provide foster youth with scholarships is critical in benefitting their futures.
“I remember one of our youths winning the Zayda Literacy Fund grant. Best moment ever. I cannot rave enough about this helping a foster youth’s self-esteem,” says Laurie Bennet at Penny Lane Foster Family and Adoption Agency. We are proud to partner with our supporters to help make a difference in the lives of youth who greatly want to better themselves, become independent, and contribute to society. Please consider joining us and getting involved.
How to Help
You can help make a foster youth’s college dream come true by donating to one of our Scholarship Funds.
Isabel Millward-Pena, Communications Specialist
Isabel contributes content for our social media, blog, newsletters and promotional materials. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on her master’s degree. Isabel began working with our team as an intern and, luckily for us, never left. Prior to her work at CFA, she was a substitute instructional aid and a supervisor at Starbucks. She has also volunteered as an aid at local elementary schools and notably achieved “Partner of the Quarter” at Starbucks in 2017.