From Foster Care to the Inauguration to Tomorrow's Leadership
WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Foster care alumni from Fedcap Washingtonians for Children (http://www.fedcap.org/) and other DC, Virginia and Maryland programs witnessed history – and their own potential futures – as attendees at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
The 30 young people, all college students or recent graduates, overcame enormous barriers – and odds – to reach higher education. While 70 percent of foster youth say they want to go to college, fewer than 10 percent enroll and only 3 percent of those students graduate. Almost half of foster care alumni are unemployed at age 21, and rates of teen-age pregnancy, homelessness and incarceration are high.
Here's what they had to say about today's ceremony:
- "This inauguration defined opportunity."
- "Seeing the President and his family in person was so inspiring and made it all seem so much more real."
- "The fact that it was the second term of an African-American President and that it landed on Martin Luther King's birthday brought tears to my eyes."
- "Nobody, absolutely nobody, can stop us from achieving what we want."
"These young people represent the future leaders President Obama referenced in his speech, the people who will carry on the fight for 'a more perfect union,' and especially the fight to change the story for their brothers and sisters in foster care in America," said Roque Gerald, Director of Fedcap Washingtonians for Children, which partners with the DC Child and Family Services Agency to ensure that youth transitioning from foster care enter college and graduate.
"This President is an inspiring illustration of breaking through barriers to achieve greatness," he said. "We are so proud to have shared this day with the amazing youth we serve, and to be helping them to reach their own full potential."
Gerald partnered with Anne Holton of Great Expectations in Virginia (http://greatexpectations.vccs.edu/) to arrange tickets to the inauguration, after which the group was hosted at a lunch by Casey Family Programs.
"I am thrilled to be enjoying Inauguration Day with these formidable youth and Great Expectations staff," Holton, wife of Virginia Senator (and former Virginia Governor) Tim Kaine, told the group.
About Fedcap Washingtonians for Children
Fedcap Washingtonians for Children is committed to helping youth in foster care develop pathways to college and self-sufficiency. Partnering with the child welfare system and other proven programs serving at-risk youth, and with foster families, schools and trained mentors, we build the networks that provide youth in foster care with the support and encouragement they need to succeed.
Fedcap helps people break through barriers to achieve long-term economic independence. Our programs and operations bring education and the power of work to youth in transition, adults with conviction histories, veterans, individuals with disabilities and many others facing barriers to employment. We place people in jobs across a wide variety of sectors and employ more than 1,800 in our own businesses. Fedcap is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information or to make a donation, call 212-727-4200 or visit www.fedcap.org. Follow Fedcap on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/fedcap) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/Fedcap).