on foster care issues:

“It’s Not About How Smart You Are; It’s About How Disciplined You Are”: A Student Success Story

| September 25th, 2013

Domonique Chapman

Domonique Chapman

Classes don’t start until next week at Franklin University in Ohio, but Domonique Chapman is going through her course syllabi and working on assignments already. She wants to be prepared for the first day of classes and to make sure she knows in advance what questions she may have for her professors on the first day. After hearing this, you’re probably not surprised to hear that Domonique has held a 4.0 grade point average for the last five semesters and is working her way through graduate school on her way to getting a master’s degree in healthcare management. You may be surprised to hear that Domonique wasn’t always this way. In fact, she didn’t do as well in her first college classes  and switched schools. How did Domonique make such a radical change to become a successful student?

The answer is simple – by learning from her past mistakes and by being disciplined. Being prepared and disciplined “makes a huge difference,” said Domonique. “For the classes I didn’t prepare for, it was a mess.” She says that she had to learn through experience, and that made the difference.

Being prepared keeps her on top of her assignments, especially in graduate school where she has papers to write left and right. Preparation is key to how she chose what to study. Domonique started school studying to be a dental hygienist, then changed her major to become a medical assistant. After performing research on what careers were in demand, she decided to move into the healthcare management field. In addition, she researched what qualifications were needed for people working in the field with similar aspirations of going into healthcare administration and found out the a master’s degree was helpful in being successful. Without being prepared, Domonique would not have done the necessary research to put herself on the pathway to success in her post-school career.

Domonique has some valuable advice for students considering graduate school, “Try to specialize in graduate school.” And, remember, “college is not for everyone. It is very expensive. Make sure it’s a commitment you want to make. If the answer is no, then a master’s degree is not for you.”


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Artists Across United States Knit for Foster Students

| September 19th, 2013

fc2s red scarf projectStarting in August, knitters across the country began crafting scarves for the Red Scarf Project, which sends care packages to college and training program students who have experienced foster care. Every Fall, Foster Care to Success (FC2S) relies on the red scarves to fill Valentine’s Day care packages that are mailed to its students.

FC2S began mailing its students Valentine’s Day care packages in 2005, and, in the first seven years, delivered over 20,000 red scarves to foster youth in colleges and training programs across the country.

“Every year, we are awed by the works of art that are so generously created for our students,” said Eileen McCaffrey, the executive director of Foster Care to Success. “The handmade red scarves in each of our Valentine’s Day care packages become treasured keepsakes that our students wear for years.”

FC2S welcomes donations of red scarfs between September 1 and December 15. Scarves should be approximately 60 inches long GZucker0110ofa_2346and 5 to 8 inches wide. All scarves must be in a shade of red or in similar tones or designs, such as burgundy, cherry, russet, red stripes with other colors, or multicolor hues including red. Additional scarf guidelines can be found by visiting:http://www.fc2success.org/how-you-can-help/red-scarf-project/.

“Foster Care to Success gratefully thanks the thousands of knitters and crocheters worldwide who make our Red Scarf Project such a success,” said McCaffrey.

The Red Scarf Project is endorsed by Interweave Knits, The National Needle Arts Association, and the Lily Chin Signature Collection.

For a student’s perspective on receiving scarves, visit: http://www.fc2success.org/redscarfemke/.


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Rosie O’Donnell to Guest Star on ABC Family’s Series “The Fosters”

| September 18th, 2013

Episodes to air in January 2014

Story by ABC Family staff

Burbank, CA –  Rosie O’Donnell has signed on for a recurring role on ABC Family’s hit drama series, “The Fosters.”

Rosie O'Donnell to star on "The Fosters"

Rosie O’Donnell to star on “The Fosters”

O’Donnell will play Rita Hendricks, a tough yet compassionate woman who works in the foster care system and becomes a mentor to a member of the Foster family. She will appear in three episodes when the series returns in January 2014. Production on the second half of the show’s first season will begin in October.

O’Donnell said, “I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful, heartwarming show. My kids and I never miss it.”

“When Rosie O’Donnell tweeted that she loved ‘The Fosters,’ we knew we had to reach out and try to snap her up! Having witnessed her support of foster children and blended families, we knew she would be a perfect fit for the show,” said the show’s creators and Executive Producers Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg.

“The Fosters” is a compelling, one-hour drama about a multi-ethnic family mix of foster and biological kids being raised by two moms. Stef Foster, a dedicated police officer, and her partner Lena Adams Foster, a school Vice Principal, have built a close-knit, loving family with Stef’s biological son from a previous marriage, Brandon, and their adopted twins Mariana and Jesus. Their lives are disrupted in unexpected ways when Lena meets Callie, a guarded teen with an abusive past who has spent her life in and out of foster homes. Lena and Stef warily welcome Callie and her younger brother Jude into their home hoping to provide them with the guidance and nurturing they so desperately need.

Over time, Callie and Jude open up about losing their parents and the hardships they suffered while in previous foster homes. Callie grows especially close to Brandon, but their mutual attraction causes jealousy and concern since foster children are not allowed to have intimate relationships in the same household. When Callie finally gives in to those feelings, she jeopardizes Stef and Lena’s offer to make her and Jude a permanent part of the family. Not wanting to ruin Jude’s chances of finally finding a stable, loving home, Callie runs away.

Winner of 2013’s Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Breakout Show, “The Fosters” is executive-produced by Jennifer Lopez, (“American Idol,” “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” “The Back-Up Plan”) and created by Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige (“Queer As Folk”), who also serve as showrunners, writers and executive producers. “The Fosters” stars Teri Polo (“Meet the Parents”) as Stef Foster, Sherri Saum (“In Treatment”) as Lena Adams Foster, Jake T. Austin (“Wizards of Waverly Place”) as Jesus Foster, Hayden Byerly (“Parenthood”) as Jude Jacob, David Lambert (“Aaron Stone”) as Brandon Foster, Maia Mitchell (“Teen Beach Movie”) as Callie Jacob, Danny Nucci (“Titanic”) as Mike Foster and Cierra Ramirez (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”) as Mariana Foster. Joanna Johnson (“Make it or Break it”), Greg Gugliotta, Elaine Goldsmith Thomas, Benny Medina, and John Ziffren also serve as executive producers. The series is produced by Nuyorican Productions, Inc., and Prodco, Inc.

Part of the Disney/ABC Television Group, ABC Family is distributed in over 97 million homes. ABC Family features programming reflecting today’s families, entertaining and connecting with adults through relatable programming about today’s relationships – told with a mix of diversity, passion, humor and heart. ABC Family’s programming is a combination of network-defining original series and original movies, quality acquired series and blockbuster theatricals. Emmy® Award-winning ABCFamily.com provides a variety of interactive entertainment and community features from rich fan-centric programming — including blogs, viewing parties, webisodes, full episodes of the network’s hit programming, along with sneak peek exclusive previews and behind-the-scenes clips. ABC Family is also the destination for annual Holiday events with “13 Nights of Halloween” and “25 Days of Christmas.” ABC Family. A New Kind of Family.

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Meeting a Red Scarf Project Volunteer in Person by Whitney Emke

| September 17th, 2013

Whitney Emke

Whitney Emke

My name is Whitney Emke. I was an Orphan’s Foundation of America/Foster Care to Success recipient from August 2008 to June 2012.

About a year ago, I moved from my hometown of Randolph, New York to Brandon, Vermont to accept a job in Middlebury, Vermont. I found a wonderful, rewarding job as a Behavior Interventionist at the Counseling Service of Addison County, also in Middlebury. At this job, I work 1:1 in a school setting with autistic children and/or children with emotional/behavioral disturbances.

Last month, I began work with a new client at a local elementary school. I take my lunch break in the faculty room along with many of the school’s para-educators and 1:1s. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been slowly getting to know this group of women who call themselves “The Lunch Ladies” and who have invited me to call myself a Lunch Lady, too.

Recently in the faculty room, the topic of college and financial aid came up. I mentioned having been in foster care in New York State for five years and having worked to educate youth in foster care on higher education and financial aid. Then, another woman mentioned that she takes part in a special volunteer project… she told me that she knits red scarves to send to foster care youth in college.

Wow! Talk about coincidences. While at St. Bonaventure, I received countless care packages from FC2S containing these red scarves. For all I know, I may be working alongside the very woman who knit a scarf that eventually ended up around my neck.

I shared this with the woman, along with the other people in the faculty room. I became a little emotional as I shared it, and several of the other women in there said that they were emotional too. Several of us–myself included–got a little misty-eyed as I fumbled an awkward thanks to this woman… after all, her efforts–and the efforts of the countless other OFA/FC2S volunteers–resulted in the care packages that I cherished during college. Receiving one of those care packages was often the highlight of my semesters, which were usually jam-packed with 18-credit hours and 60-hour work weeks, in addition to homework and trying desperately to maintain a social life.

I hope that this woman understood how deeply grateful I am for her kindness and compassion for others, and I hope that this story is a reminder to you of how important the work that you do is.

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Thought Leader’s Insights: Michael H. Leach, Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services

| September 16th, 2013

Welcome to a new series on Foster Care to Success’s blog called “Thought Leader’s Insights,” where experts in the social work and foster care fields discuss trends, successes, experiences and thoughts on foster care. The first blog post in the series is by Michael H. Leach, the director of independent living for the state of Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services. Thank you, Michael, for sharing the experiences from your department. Readers, if you would like to participate in the series, please contact FC2S communications manager Jenny Hughes at jhughes@fc2success.org. 

The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services provides Chafee Foster Care Independent Living Program services through the Office of Independent Living.  As a part of the federal mandate, this division has built a network of appropriate supports and services for youth transitioning out of care and those who are likely to remain in care.

A significant step forward in Tennessee’s ability to expand services for young adults ages 18 to 21 occurred when policies and procedures to implement Extension of Foster Care Services went into effect July 1, 2012. We have been through one full fiscal year and are satisfied with our implementation.

In Tennessee we’ve seen great examples of our youth beating the odds utilizing two scholarship programs available to them through DCS: the federally funded Education and Training Voucher (ETV), and the state funded Bright Futures scholarship. During the past academic year, Tennessee DCS assisted 269 youth with Education and Training Vouchers, and 127 youth with the Bright Futures scholarship. These youth attended post-secondary academic or vocational programs.

DCS has the opportunity to improve the outcomes by fully promoting youth engagement in case planning and decision-making and creating strategies to improve outcomes of transitioning youth. To help youth plan for the future, a  focus must be made within the department to ask questions like:

  • What can we do to help prepare this youth to be successful after 18?
  • What skills does this youth need now to have to be successful after 18?
  • Who are the young person’s caring adults? What roles do they have?
  • Are our young people actively participating in their own planning and service provision?
  • What are the plans for our 14-16 year olds? What strengths do they have and what can we help them build?

The Post Custody and Extension of Foster Care data for FY12 and FY13, outlined below:

Total served Post Custody FY2011-12: 459

Of the 459, still receiving services effective July 1, 2012: 183

Total served in EFCS FY2012-13: 566

Of the 566, still receiving services effective July 1, 2013: 253

  • Total Aged Out FY12 and Received EFCS During FY12: 27%
  • Delinquent: 3%
  • Dependent/Neglect: 24%
  • Unruly: 4%
  • Total Aged Out FY13 and Received EFCS During FY13: 39%
  • Delinquent: 4%
  • Dependent/Neglect: 33%
  • Unruly: 2%

Just a few stories of youth success:- 

  1. “_____ spent several years in the foster care system as a young child. She defeated a lot of odds against her and completed her high school education in May 2012. After high school, _____ decided that she wanted to attend MTSU. She just completed her first year and was able to end the term with a 3.6 GPA. _____will be starting her second year at MTSU in the fall with 31 credit hours completed. Her major is BSN Pre-Nursing, and she plans on moving into her own apartment then. _____ understands that if this living arrangement is not conducive to her educational goals that she will return to living in the dormitory. _____has always wanted to become a nurse and has stated that she will not allow anything to deter her from that dream. _____ has also been able to maintain employment at a local restaurant for more than a year. When school is out in the summer she works at the Jackson location and when school is in session she transfer back to the Murfreesboro location. She works part-time as she does not want to hinder her educational goals. _____ has been able to save a substantial amount of money as she takes her budget very seriously and only spends on what is absolutely necessary. She wishes to purchase her own vehicle soon. _____ also participates with Youth Villages TL Services and literally takes advantage of all of her resources including her advisor at school. Youth Villages reports that _____ is a joy to work with, and we are very proud of her accomplishments and her attitude that goes along with it.”
  2.  “_____ was adjudicated in Lauderdale County under a juvenile justice court order. After running away several times in her placement, something finally clicked for her and from that moment, she has been moving forward. After she obtained her GED, _____ decided that she wanted to pursue cosmetology school and took advantage of the educational services that DCS had to offer. She moved from Lauderdale County and was able to secure her own housing in Madison County. She completed her program at The Hair Design School in 2012 while working part-time jobs as a supervisor for two different janitorial services. When the position of Peer Mentor for Madison County became available, _____ was referred and hired. _____ has done such an outstanding job that she is now covering three counties. She receives accolades from the board members as she is able to fully engage with the youth and help them voice their concerns. Just recently she was able to identify a potential safety concern for one of our Extension Youth that needs to be addressed. ._____ has now decided that she would like to further her education and attend college to pursue a degree in social work. Finally, _____ and her high school sweet heart were married on March 26, 2013.”
  3. ________graduated from TN School of Beauty, studied for and took the practical for her  cosmetology license, and now is going back to school to get her aesthetics certification she also was made a student instructor at Aveda Institute after only a short time there

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September Hero of the Month – Keith Hefner

| September 13th, 2013

Shining a spotlight on an important topic that most people do not think much about is heroic, and that is why Keith Hefner is Foster Care to Success’s Foster Care Hero of the month for September.

Keith Hefner

Keith Hefner

Keith, a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, is a winner of the Luther P. Jackson Award for Educational Excellence from the New York Association of Black Journalists. He is the executive editor or co-author of several dozen Youth Communication books and programs.

Keith is the founder of Youth Communication, which publishes  Represent MagazineRepresent “gives inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff useful insights into teen concerns.” The magazine, written for both foster youth and the foster parents, social workers, educators, counselors and agency employees who care about them, provides teens who’ve experienced foster care with both practical information and the inspirational stories of people who’ve been in their shoes.

Most of the magazine’s articles are written by youth who’ve experienced foster care. ”Our readers are our writers,” said Hefner. The teens who write for the magazine are inspired to write because “They’ve seen the magazine and are moved by the stories.” After submitting their article drafts, the teen writers continue to work on their articles with staff editors who develop a teaching relationship with the young writers. Hefner pointed out, “If your goal is to make an impact, then it has to be well written.”

Although written by and for students, Represent‘s primary audience includes those adults who work with youth in foster care, suchrepresent as staff counselors, foster parents, and agency workers. Foster youth “have to have the magazine given to them by an adult they trust,” said Hefner. “When we asked kids what’s most important about the magazine, they say ‘it makes me feel less alone.’” Adults read the magazine because it helps them understand the foster youth they work and/ or live with.

Hefner cites aging out of foster care, relationships with biological family, and coping with the effects of what put teens into care as perennial topics for the magazine. The increasing number of foster youth discharged to homelessness is an issue that he sees as an important topic that Represent currently covers and will continue to cover.

For all of the aspiring writers out there, Keith Hefner offers the following advice, “Be prepared to live a life of poverty. Writing has to be a passion, especially when print media is collapsing.” He says there is a premium for good writing, so look for jobs that aren’t in traditional writing fields, like journalism, and look for the organizations and trades that need good writers but aren’t traditionally associated with magazines or writing, like public relations and insurance. He recommends writing your book on the side, if you have a book in you.

Read more success stories.

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10 Steps to Academic Success

| September 10th, 2013

The new school year is upon us, and most students have started the new semester at their colleges or professional training programs. College is so different than high school, and it is easy to get lost and overwhelmed. In December, no one wants to look back at the semester to see failing grades and wasted opportunities.

Eileen McCaffrey FC2SFoster Care to Success’s Executive Director Eileen McCaffrey has spent years studying what makes students most successful in college and training programs. Below are 10 tips to academic success that she’s developed based on her experience. If you are a foster parent or social worker, these tips are great to share with your clients.

  1. Know and meet regularly with your academic advisor. If possible, meet with your academic advisor before registering for classes and at least once more every semester.
  2. Maintain balance. Balance your class load. Take no more than two hard classes in any one semester, if possible.
  3. Get to know your professors. Meet with each professor at the beginning of the semester. Meet with your professor or teaching assistant before every exam or paper with any questions, and afterwords to go over your results.
  4. Attend every class. The single most important thing you can do to succeed in college is to go to class.
  5. If you don’t understand something, ask questions right away.
  6. Get to know your classmates
  7. Make full use of your school’s support services.
  8. Live by the calendar. Learn how to manage your time.
  9. Study regularly. Keep up with all readings and do all of your homework on time, even if it is not graded. Set aside a regular study time for each class.
  10. Balance school, work, and daily life.

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Movie Review – Short Term 12 – by Pam Pierce

| September 4th, 2013

We have a special movie review this week from Pam Pierce, retention specialist at Foster Care to Success. Check out her review below.

short term 12Movies about kids in the foster system tend to go one of two directions. The movies may be so sweet that watching them reminds you of that moment when the syrup just clots all over your pancake or they leave you searching for a pint of Ben and Jerry’s to numb the pain. “Short Term 12″ is none of those things. It dares to do the unusual in movies. The film poses complex questions while still also providing an ending and a sense of closure. I can promise that throughout the movie you will feel the reality of this particular group home, but like life it will feel sweet, bitter, and everything in between.

The film stars relative newcomer Brie Larson as Grace, the director of this group home. Larson can previously be seen as the petulant teenager in Showtime’s “The United States of Tara.” In this role, Grace seesaws between contentment in a stable, loving relationships and complete, crazy anxiety as she sees her own issues reflected in one of the teens in her care. “Short Term 12″ also shows what this group of kids might look like to a relative outsider. In one of the film’s earlier scenes, Nate, a new employee, expresses his desire to work with “underprivileged kids.” He uses this phrase in a community meeting. The students immediately challenge him. Grace also confronts the limitations of the system wMovies about kids in the foster system tend to go one of two directions. The movies may be so sweet that watching them reminds you of that moment when the syrup just clots all over your pancake or they leave you searching for a pint of Ben and Jerry’s to numb the pain. “Short Term 12″ is none of those things. It dares to do the unusual in movies. The film poses complex questions while still also providing an ending and a sense of closure. I can promise that throughout the movie you will feel the reality of this particular group home, but like life it will feel sweet, bitter, and everything in between.

In the end, the syrup within “Short Term 12″ leaves the bottle at just the right pace. Those who have been in group homes or worked within them may see their reality reflected in a way that is realistic, challenging, and yet optimistic.

Watch the preview here:

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Helping Your Foster Sensory Child

| September 3rd, 2013

Is your foster child anxious, distracted or rigid? Has he or she been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, AD/ HD, autism spectrum disorders, Asperger’s disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, a bipolar or mood disorder, OCD, or sensory processing disorder? If so, you know from practical experience how days can seem overwhelming when providing safe havens for sensory children, made even more difficult when the children stay in your home for a relatively short period of time. It makes it even more difficult to provide them with the structured, organized home that would make them most successful. Carolyn Dalgleish, professional organizer, a parent to a sensory child, and the author of the new book The Sensory Child Gets Organized: Proven Systems for Rigid, Anxious or Distracted Kids, has advice for foster parents of sensory children. Read her guest blog post below:

Tips for foster parents who might have sensory children in their homes for short periods of time….

Sensory Child Gets OrganizedcoverStructure and routines can be a tremendous support for all sorts of sensory kids with rigid, anxious, or distracted behaviors and/or kids who have lived with trauma and stress. Predictability can help ease anxiety and help kids learn how to create routines around challenging times or tasks – a powerful, life-long skill.

Here are a few simple ways to introduce some structure and routines into daily life for sensory kids:

Build-in Small Pieces of Structure: Having consistent weekly menus and activities that happen around the house are very simple yet powerful ways to support sensory kids with structure. For example, Tuesday is pasta night, Wednesday is taco night, Thursday is ice cream night, and Fridays are Pizza / Movie Night. For kids that live with internal and external unpredictability, having some tangible absolutes in their week will be calming and soothing.

Create a Central Message Area: Pick one central wall in the house (kitchen / dining area) to create a visual command central. This can have school schedules, extra activity schedules, important phone numbers, and should include a weekly whiteboard calendar. Try to get into the habit of planing for the week ahead on Sunday nights – you can start by filling in the house absolutes like the weekly menu plan and family time. Then you can add in school and activity blocks. This is a great way to help kids know what is coming (predictability!) and a great introduction to visual time management.

Extra Supports for Tough Transtions: Create some routines around some of the bigger and tougher transitions of the day like getting ready for school in the morning, homework time, and getting to bed at night. Create visual aids (with pictures and/or words) that you review with your sensory child before implementing the routine and then post or hang near the area where the routine will be completed. For example, you can hang a laminated sheet in the bathroom with the 3 steps for getting ready in the morning: Wash Face, Brush Teeth, and Brush Hair. For older kids, give them some choice in the order of the routines – a sense of control can help with compliance.

Meal time Connections: Meal time can be one of the more difficult times of day for sensory kids as they manage challenges around sustained mental focus and social interactions. Since meal times can provide such important moments of conversation and connection for sensory kids, having a few strategies here can be so helpful also. For example, incorporating games at meal time can be a great way to help sensory kids stay engaged, connected, and part of the conversation. A few of my favorites – Dinner Games and Family Talk.

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From Inner-City LA to UC Berkeley by Shannon Mayock

| August 30th, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA-Jhoanna Carrera grew up in Huntington Park, one of the most impoverished and infamously violent areas in the nation.  The poised teenager is a recipient of the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship, and started her freshman at UC Berkeley today.  Her story is one of focus, discipline, civic engagement, and involvement with an after-school program that gave her the direction to succeed in a community that so many get lost within.

“My entire philosophy during high school was to not sit on the couch and watch TV,” says Jhoanna.  A confident young woman, her commitment to that statement throughout her high school career led Jhoanna on a path to collegiate success.

“My mom worked until 9:00 p.m. each evening and my dad worked till midnight,” she continues.  “I thought it would be a better decision to be productive, rather than sit at home alone.”

Jhoanna became aware of an after-school program at her high school, and stayed active for all four years. Reflecting on its programs, she states that she is “grateful for the opportunities the organization gave [her].”

Founded in 2002 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and with noteworthy support from Program Ambassador Kobe Bryant, After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles (ASAS-LA) is a leading after-school program provider whose programs educate, enlighten and inspire thousands of students each day through after-school activities centered around academic support; health, fitness and nutrition; the visual and performing arts; and youth leadership and community service learning.

The organization brings innovative, cutting-edge academic and enrichment programs to K-12 students that contribute to reducing drug use, crime and violence; while increasing their safety during the after school hours.  ASAS-LA serves over 8,000 students daily across 44 schools located in deserving areas throughout LA County.

“When I first entered high school, I was so shy…I was afraid to speak up, to raise my hand in class,” says Jhoanna. “After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles helped me to have confidence and composure.”

Jhoanna specifically favored ASAS-LA academic initiatives, focusing on her education with study time and college-prep programs.  The organization’s “We Are Ready” programs engages students with curriculum on what is expected as a university applicant; students receive information and direction about scholarships and the college admittance process, which begins in high school.

Jhoanna also enjoyed ASAS-LA community service learning initiatives, where she was devoutly involved in civic affair activities, such as volunteering for needy families, helping the homeless, collecting items and canned goods for the Salvation Army.  While in high school, she completed over 500 community service hours.

She also enjoyed planning dances at her school, and helping her younger peers with their homework and studies.

“I grew up in a really hard area,” states a reflective Jhoanna.  “On my walk home from school, I always had to be careful– cautious of gangs, violence. There were drug dealers on the street corners, constant noise with sirens, cops, extreme commotion.  After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles gave me other options to participate in something other than what was going on around me in my community each day.”

Excited about the future, Jhoanna looks forward to her life at UC Berkeley, one of the most respected higher education institutions in the nation.  As a recipient of the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship (funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), Jhoanna’s tuitions expenses are covered.

“I am so grateful,” she says “grateful for my health, all these wonderful opportunities in life and also my present and future education.”

She is looking forward to the atmosphere at Berkeley, “full of social movements, culture, diversity, the arts.”

Jhoanna plans to major in biology and eventually have a career in the medical field, as a doctor who helps the disadvantaged Hispanic community.  Ever community service minded, she will “surely be involved in civic activities at Berkeley” and plans to volunteer at hospitals, elementary schools and also be involved in Berkeley’s student government.

“I am absolutely committed to my community,” says Jhoanna.  “While at Berkley, I’d also like to motivate Hispanic teens to pursue higher education.”

For more information on After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles, please visit: www.la-allstars.org.

Story by Shannon Mayock, After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles

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