Although our stories herald from different parts of the country (Michigan, New York, Washington) our experiences seem to be more similar than different. All three of us chose school as the venue to cope with the aftermath of placement moves and family losses. All three of us had schools where we received positive affirmations and support at the K-12 and higher education levels, with A+ mentors within the schools we attended. …We know that our experiences aren’t emblematic of what everyone encounters in foster care. The statistics speak for themselves. Click “Daily Spotlight” to read their story.
Watch comedian Monroe Martin talk about the importance of mentors in the lives of foster children and learn about some of the hilarious missteps he’s taken as a mentor himself.
It’s Day 17 of Fostering the Future, and A+ Mentors week continues! Check out artist Ronald Draper, who describes the strong, positive influence his adoptive mother had on his education, and his career as an artist.
“I owe all of that to my adoptive mom. She is the one who pushed me creatively. She knew far, far, far before I did that art would be my salvation. But even if I hadn’t become an artist, she would still be my biggest supporter. When I was young, if I wanted to try something new, she made it happen, from baseball to Boy Scouts. And she encouraged excellence in whatever I chose. If I wanted to be a garbage man, she’d say, ‘Go ahead, baby, be the best garbage man you can’.”
A+ Mentor Week for Fostering the Future continues. Today, learn about Georgette’s struggles within the foster system and how one incredible foster parent gave her the stability and sense of normalcy that Georgette and her little sister so needed: “Ultimately, in addition to staying with my sister, it was my last foster mother who saved me from myself. She was a high school teacher, so she was used to teenagers. She didn’t have any biological children and didn’t have these great expectations that I should be perfect. She didn’t expect me to open up my loving arms and connect with her right away. No, she only wanted to stabilize my sister and me by creating a solid launching pad for normalcy. She wanted us to focus on finishing high school and prepare for college or a vocational job instead of having us worry where we were going to live day-to-day. She also taught me how to apply and interview for a job, open a bank account, save money and drive a car. She acted like any regular parent would with their child. She made me feel normal.”
For week three of Fostering the Future, we pay homage to the A+ mentors who have helped children in foster care reach their educational goals.
“For the first time in my life, I had parents who were reading to me at night. For the first time, I had parents who were helping me finish my homework, sewing a costume for the school musical, and throwing birthday parties for me. Most importantly, for the first time, I had parents who told me I would be going to college and that I had a future I could look forward to …” Click “Daily Spotlight” to read Sam’s whole story!
Comedian and former foster youth Monroe Martin riffs on how school attendance can be a struggle for many foster youth while also riffing on how school was more fun than his foster home in his second video for Children’s Rights Fostering the Future campaign. Watch now!
Week Two’s theme of IMperfect Attendance rolls on today with Elijah’s account of the struggles he faced after aging out and being on his own for the first time. Learn about the tough lessons he learned and how he got his bachelor’s degree in 2015.
I was put in a group home in a different county, and I had to start a new school. My caseworker told me that education was not her priority at the time … For six months I was at this group home, then another group home for about nine months. And it did affect my education–my teachers could tell you I was a great student, [but] the instability in my life meant poor grades and poor attendance on my transcript.
Meet foster alum Shay and hear her story about 45 placements, over 23 different schools and tons of numbing medications that all negatively impacted her ability to learn. Shay’s now earning her degree at Mills College in California.
“Getting an education is no joke.” Comedian and former foster youth Monroe Martin cracks us up and opens our eyes in this clip about getting an education in state care. Get schooled all month with more from Monroe and foster care alumni across the nation as they discuss the barriers and supports they faced as they worked toward their degrees.