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New FC2S Program Aims to Improve College Readiness for Foster Youth
The more prepared students are for college the more likely they are to succeed. That’s why Foster Care to Success has developed the Aim Higher Fellows Program.
Aim Higher is a peer-to-peer mentoring program that seeks to improve college readiness for foster youth who are still in high school by tapping the experiences and unique perspectives of successful FC2S Scholars. The program is designed to help foster youth gain a better understanding of the differences between high school and college and to develop the academic and life skills they need to graduate.
This new program is built around 22 carefully selected FC2S upper-class college students known as Fellows. Every year, a new cohort of Fellows will spend three weeks in June in Washington, D.C., participating in workshops and training sessions to hone their communication and presentation skills and learn how to share the FC2S Academic Success Model with foster youth in their home states.
Over the course of the coming year, Fellows will present at conferences and meet with foster youth, social workers, educators and foster parents. They’ll discuss time management, goal planning, study techniques and other important life survival skills with the younger students. Fellows will share their experiences to help teens understand the role of a college student. They also will 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. While 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 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.
2013-14 Inaugural Class of Aim Higher Fellows
David Petty is a rising senior at the University of North Alabama. He is studying social work.
Aurora Smith is a rising junior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she is studying early childhood and elementary education.
Kameron Mark plans to receive her associate degree from Pima Community College in May 2014 and then transfer to Arizona State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in social work.
Antonio (Tony) Ramos is a May 2013 graduate of Paradise Valley Community College where he received his associate degree with honors, with an emphasis in criminal justice. He is considering Arizona State University to further his studies.
Margaret (Meg) Ewing is a May 2013 graduate of the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs where she received her bachelor’s degree in sociology.
Cristhian (Cris) Miranda is a rising senior at Colorado Mesa University where he is on the pre-medical track and is studying musical education.
Nia Garrett is a rising senior at McDaniel College with a major in psychology and minor in gerontology.
Evelyn Harris is a rising senior at Morgan State University, studying elementary education.
Keven Maclin is a rising senior at the University of Baltimore where he is studying corporate communications with a minor in business management.
Alexandria (Alex) Garcia is a rising senior at Southwest Baptist University where she is studying nursing.
Hailey Hankins is a rising junior at William Jewell College. She is majoring in elementary education with a minor in psychology.
Drew Hilgendorf is a rising junior at Southeast Missouri State University, majoring in sports management and minoring in business administration.
Jamaal (Jay) Hamler is a May 2013 graduate of Central State University, with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.
Alden Morris is a rising junior at Ohio State University, studying political science.
Nautica Hereford is a rising junior in the Honors Program at Wright State University, going for a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.
Brittany Harris is a rising senior at Mercy College, studying social work.
Christina McGee is a rising junior at Hunter College, studying anthropology with a minor in cultural studies.
Daybelis Ramirez is a rising senior at Marist College where she studies social work and psychology.
Natasha Maddox is a rising junior at Western Carolina University, studying social work with a minor in psychology.
Kashawn McRavion is a rising senior in the Honors Program at North Carolina A&T State University, studying social work with a minor in philosophy.
Sandra Witherspoon is a rising junior studying special education at East Carolina University.
Chelsea Miles graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho in April 2013 with a degree in English/journalism education.