San Jose nonprofit helps foster youth ‘On the Move’ get education

0 4

A San Jose-based nonprofit that helps meet the educational and career needs of children in foster care has expanded its program to include middle school as well as high school students.

Previously, Pivotal’s services began with students in the ninth grade, but sometimes students were too far behind even at that point to graduate in four years.

Additionally Pivotal’s new “On the Move” initiative will follow students who have to leave the South Bay, and the nonprofit plans to increase resources in its legislative and advocacy efforts. Working with public and private organizations, Pivotal supported approximately 500 students in foster care throughout Silicon Valley in 2021.

According to Pivotal, children move eight times on average while they are in foster care.

“Pivotal has always focused on population rather than location. We want to meet our young people where they are,” said Marie-Christine Busque, Pivotal’s vice president of programming. “In the last three years, we’ve seen that 72% of our scholars left the county. Our students need consistency to thrive, so if they’re on the move, we’re on the move.”

Pivotal has been supporting high school and college-age students in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties for over 30 years, offering services including one-on-one academic and employment coaching, college scholarships, tutoring, career readiness training and paid summer internships. It is currently serving post-secondary students in 24 counties in California and 13 states nationwide.

“We have decades of experience listening to our young people, and what they are telling us now is that they need uninterrupted support and services wherever they live,” said Pivotal CEO Elise Cutini. “One of the many challenges we’re thinking about is how to reimagine support and funding so services can follow our youth regardless of county and state lines.”

Previously known as the Silicon Valley Children’s Fund and TeenForce, the organization was renamed Pivotal in 2018. The nonprofit helps young people from foster care get support to earn a sustainable income and reach self-sufficiency. According to Pivotal, its scholars are 25% more likely to graduate from high school and 10 times more likely to graduate from college than their foster youth peers.

“I met Pivotal in fall 2015, and (I’ve) been participating in the program since 2017,” said Diana Urias, a former Pivotal scholar. “They provided help with community college course registration, undergrad application assistance, online tutoring services (and) professional development opportunities. My time at Pivotal was extremely helpful.”

There are currently more than 54,000 children in foster care in California. Children sometimes require temporary out-of-home care because of parental neglect, abuse or exploitation. The largest percentages are African American and Latino children, according to California’s Department of Social Services. Some children stay in foster care for weeks, some for years.

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.