Now is the time for foster care to start a bigger conversation around post-secondary readiness and success. FC2S jump starts this necessary dialogue with the Aim Higher Fellows Program.
Foster youth are a unique population within the larger group of vulnerable young adults. Although many experience loss and trauma from abuse, neglect and abandonment, they remain resilient, dreaming of successful futures outside of foster care. However, at 18, the world calls them “adults,” without first teaching them what this means.
How can I get to work without a car?
Why must I enroll in remedial math?
What is a soft skill? Why does it matter?
Young adults exiting the foster care system don’t know the answers to these questions and many more—and they aren’t the only ones.
When it comes to getting a post-secondary education, expectations for foster youth have changed. And today’s foster parents and professionals are suddenly forced to add “college counselor” atop the multiple roles they juggle—a hat most aren’t equipped to wear.
Youth, foster parents and professionals need relevant, current information about what it really takes to succeed in and out of school. It’s not enough for young people to understand what they want in life—they must also learn how to reach their dreams.
FC2S speaks directly to that need with the Aim Higher Fellows Program.
Aim Higher gives foster youth concrete information to help them understand the realities of receiving a post-secondary education, getting a job and becoming successful young professionals. And as Fellows are taught to effectively communicate this information with others, our program creates a domino effect:
We educate foster youth → Foster youth educate peers, parents & professionals → Foster youth, parents & professionals thrive and succeed
While we can’t reduce every problem or eliminate every challenge, we can invite these young adults to join the conversation, opening the door for them to use their unique experiences to educate the foster care industry and share the truths they often do not hear.
What Aim Higher Does
Annually, a group of dynamic FC2S college students and graduates join the Aim Higher Fellows Program. The yearlong program kicks off in June with an intensive skill-building program in Washington, D.C.
FC2S engages professionals to teach Fellows how to:
- Develop communication skills to understand and publicly speak to the foster care community
- Leverage social media to reach a national audience
- Build soft skills for workplace
FC2S helps students craft messages and create informational videos that educate foster teens and caregivers about post-secondary readiness and success. With professional help, students develop skits, in-person presentations and shoot video about a range of post-secondary topics, from balancing work, life and academics to understanding financial aid.
And the work doesn’t end in DC.
From coast-to-coast, Fellows continue blasting the educational videos on social media and sharing their experiences during speaking engagements, illuminating the issues around post-secondary education for foster youth.
As our Fellows learn the skills to creatively share information, each student becomes a more confident, self-assured and better equipped young professional, ready to join the workforce.
Where It Began
Since 1994, FC2S has brought foster youth to the nation’s capital with its Washington Youth Leadership Program. Students worked at career-specific internships and on Capitol Hill. The program evolved over time based on the changing needs of students and increasing public awareness of foster care issues.
FC2S recognized the need for young adults to engage a broader audience, and in 2012, we gave them a platform with Aim Higher. Over the program’s 20-year history, we’ve impacted more than 470 students and continue to develop these relationships today.
Why it Matters
Aim Higher Fellows deeply desire to improve the lives of foster youth. The program helps our students “give back” as they learn new skills, enhance their career potential and develop life-long friendships. FC2S stands beside our students helping them tackle the big issues of education and training as they grow into productive adulthood and positive citizenship.