CFA’s Scholarships Help Save Foster Youth from Homelessness
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.
Scholarships: Support Foster Youth Through Education
When you were 18 years old, were you financially stable? Or did you have the support of caring adults to help you?
If you’re reading this right now, YOU are the caring adult for a youth in foster care who needs support. A foster youth transitioning to adulthood faces many challenges. Of those who graduate high school, only 20% will enroll in college, compared to 60% of non-fostered peers. 50% of foster youth will experience a time of homelessness after emancipation and less than 10% will graduate from college.
On this topic, it is also important to be aware that children of color enter the foster care system at an alarmingly disproportionate rate. These children face challenges and burdens other children simply do not. Change the cycle, change their lives!
This year, scholarship applicants have expressed a great concern for their educational success as they navigate the pandemic. Many of these youth work in food service and have lost their jobs for multiple months. Their fear is they will not be able to keep up with their bills AND go to school. Some have returned to work, others are looking for a job, but one thing that is consistent is that all of them need help, especially now.
Your gift helps foster youth cover school fees, books, student housing, utility bills, transportation, computers, software, household items like pots and pans, groceries, interview suit, new shoes, clothing, meal plans and other needs on the road to independence.
Provide the opportunity for a youth in need to change the trajectory of their future so they may lead a healthy, productive and independent life. Be the difference, bridge the gap and end the disadvantage.
CFA Awards 10 Scholarships to Foster Youth
The Children’s Foundation of America is proud to announce we will be awarding 10 very deserving former foster youth with transitional support through scholarships this school year!
The Michael A. Alexander Memorial Scholarship Fund is designed to assist Trinity Youth Services present and former foster youth in pursuing their academic and/or vocational education. The goal of the scholarship fund is to ensure academic success and/or a successful emancipation from Trinity’s care.
The fund allows youth who are or have been in Trinity’s care to experience a network of support, the keys to successful emancipation, and the understanding that regardless of their past, it is always possible to look toward a brighter future.
Each scholarship will assist youth by granting awards of up to $5,000 per year. There are several ways we are supporting these very bright and motivated youth as they enter independence in adulthood.
We are helping one young man with a down payment for a car to get him to and from film school in Los Angeles, one youth asked us to help him with his student loans, and others simply need help with living expenses like gas money, books, and student housing.
Thank you to all our donors who make this type of support possible for foster youth.
Jenelle Phillips, Development Specialist
enelle oversees the day-to-day operations and staffing of the Foundation, which includes fundraising events, volunteer coordination, community outreach and donations. Above all, Jenelle’s focus is to identify and access resources in order to help children heal, learn and thrive. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from California State University Fullerton and has become very involved in the community. She is active in her church, owns an art gallery, organizes the local art walk and is on the executive board of the downtown district’s marketing group.