Aim Higher is a peer-to-peer mentoring program that improves college readiness for foster youth who are still in high school by tapping the experiences and unique perspectives of successful FC2S Scholars.
The program helps foster youth gain a better understanding of the differences between high school and college and develop the academic and life skills they need to graduate from college.
Annually, FC2S selects a cohort of upper-class college students known as Aim Higher Fellows to share the FC2S Academic Success model with foster youth in their home states. Fellows spend two weeks in June in Washington, D.C., participating in workshops and training sessions to hone their communication and presentation skills, and over the course of the subsequent year they present at conferences and meet with foster youth, social workers, educators and foster parents.
They discuss time management, goal planning, study techniques and other important life survival skills with the younger students, sharing their own experiences to help teens understand the role of a college student. They also emphasize how much hard work is required to progress and how earning a diploma can change a life.
As the largest and oldest national nonprofit serving college-bound foster youth, Foster Care to Success has spent more than three decades providing financial, academic and moral support for foster youth in college and other postsecondary programs. Graduation rates for FC2S students are better than the national average for former foster students; the goal of the Aim Higher program is to improve those rates for all foster youth by starting earlier to prepare students for success.
Students from foster care who have successfully navigated the college landscape, learning how to manage their time, avoid distractions and balance work, life and academics, are uniquely qualified to talk with younger students from similar backgrounds. And as study after study has shown, teenagers are more likely to listen to—and act on—advice when it comes from their peers.
Fellows are drawn from FC2S students who are majoring in education, social work, communications, public policy and similar fields. As participants, they receive valuable training and experience that can enhance their career potential and build their resumes. The program also provides FC2S Scholars with the opportunity to give back and lend support to other foster youth. Foster Care to Success will support the Fellows throughout the year as they work to motivate others.