June 30, 2015
Only half of America’s foster youth will graduate from high school, but on a hot afternoon in June, 13 United Methodist Children’s Home residents proved they would not be part of this statistic as they celebrated achieving their high school diploma, GED, or professional certificate with Children’s Home staff, families, and friends.
Currently, more than 80 percent of Children’s Home Transitional or Independent Living program youth achieve their high school diploma or GED, and we aim to build to 100 percent in the coming years.[metaslider id=7431]
“We are so very proud of our graduates,” Director of Independent and Transitional Living Programs Ebony Harris said. “They have faced many challenges and overcome obstacles and their achievements are a major accomplishment worth celebrating.
For most of the students, graduation is not the end of their journey. They will pursue post-secondary degrees, acquire new trainings, and follow their passions as they seek careers in communication, cosmetology, culinary arts, retail management, and social work.
The Children’s Home Transitional and Independent Living programs prepare foster youth for real life. Staff teach them life skills, such as preparing daily meals, balancing work and social life, maintaining relationships with family and friends, and helping them choose the future they want.
The Home’s campus includes an educational center with computer lab, tutoring, and assistance to prepare a resume and apply for jobs. Staff also organize group functions to connect youth with potential adult mentors in their community.
“When our foster youth tell us their goals, it’s our job to come up with resources to help them succeed and achieve,” said Ebony Harris.
These resources also are available to residents from our Family Housing Program, two of whom celebrated recent graduations as well. Family housing residents face other obstacles – many are single mothers who are raising their family from homelessness and pursuing full-time employment at the same time as an education.
At the Children’s Home June graduation, one woman crossed the stage with determination in her eyes, holding her three-year-old twins that she was raising alone. When someone offered to help her carry a child, she politely refused and took them with her – they were a part of this special achievement too.