According to FGI, Richland County has the highest number of youth in foster care in the state. Children in foster care struggle often because of placement instability. They have the lowest standardized test scores of any population, the highest level of uncertainty as to where they will lay their head every night, and abnormally high PTSD levels. Fewer than 10% of youth aging out of foster care obtain a college degree. When youth do age out of foster care, there are significant, long-term challenges. They are often on their own, lacking long-term family support for their journey. Many students work to support themselves, and if they attend college, they may live paycheck to paycheck and feel excessive financial pressure. The added financial stress to maintain stable housing can add significant pressure to these youth pursuing college, career, and a stable situation.
“This support from Power:Ed will make such a high impact for our clients coming from the difficulties of foster care, as they prepare for their lives as young adults,” said Hope Coudayre, Director of Youth Development & Aspire Life Coach. “Fostering Great Ideas’ funded Aspire program equips individuals for a bright future by promoting higher education, opening up career opportunities, and providing meaningful community-wide connections. In partnership, we are preparing foster youth for excellence, guided by foster care alumni walking alongside them, as their life coach, so each youth becomes the best versions of themselves.”
Aspire™ encourages youth to graduate from high school or gain a GED and then excel economically and relationally through further education, quality employment, and healthy connections, as each transitions out of foster care. Through consistent meetings with a certified life coach and peer gatherings focused on team-building, youth begin to visualize a future for themselves. They improve academically, develop marketable skills and find their own pathway to success.
“Power:Ed is proud to support Fostering Great Ideas and the hiring of an Aspire Life Coach to help meet the demand in Richland County. These youth deserve to have their hopes restored and know there is a community of consistent, caring adults who believe in them. We look forward to the great things these students will accomplish,” said Power:Ed Executive Director Claire Gibbons.
In FY2023-24 Power:Ed will award $1,000,000 in grants to South Carolina education and career readiness organizations. In this first quarter, Power:Ed has awarded nine grants (including this grant to FGI) totaling $265,000. Grants are administered quarterly, and the next grant funding deadline is October 1, 2023.
About Fostering Great Ideas
Fostering Great Ideas noticeably improves the outcomes of children who struggle in foster care. The organization helps the children at every point of an often difficult journey. Fostering Great Ideas began with a dream in 2011 and now serves over 400 children in foster care with interventions that change their lives. The business model begins with discovering unmet emotional and academic needs, responding with “great ideas” that often invite a community response, measure the impact, adjust where needed, and repeat the formula. Fostering Great Ideas can be discovered at https://fgi4kids.org/
Founded in 2019, Power:Ed, a philanthropy of SC Student Loan is dedicated to creating opportunities for South Carolina’s youth and adults by supporting low-income, minority, and first-generation students; improving access to college and degree completion; and creating pathways to quality workforce opportunities. Organizations serving middle school through post-college talent who are interested in applying for a grant or partnering with Power:Ed, should visit power-ed.org.
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