Norco College Invites Public to Support Local Foster Youth
NORCO, Calif.– As part of National Foster Care Awareness Month in May, Norco College will host two events to raise awareness of the experiences of foster youth enrolled in college. Both events are open to the public.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 – We Walk, We Care solidarity walk around campus and an informational session led by Jared Vermillion, CEO/Trainer of Vermillion Life Circle Consulting. The walk begins at 12:50 pm, with the training session starting at 4 pm.
Thursday, May 14, 2015 – Misty Kerrigan, director of community based services at Oak Grove Center, will speak on how to help at-risk youth reach their full academic potential.
These events highlight the challenges that foster youth face as they transition from high school to college. Over 9,000 foster youth are enrolled in California’s community colleges, and Riverside County is home to the third largest population of youth in out-of-home care.
“It is critical for us as educators and community members to support these young people as many of them do not have the familial support or resources available to many of us,” said Monica Huizer, coordinator of the two events.“Our goal is to raise awareness about the challenges these young people face and provide wraparound services to support their efforts in college.”
Studies have shown that over 75 percent of foster youth aspire to go to college, but only 50 percent receive a high school diploma and just 15 percent attend college. Of this group, 7 percent will complete an associate’s degree or certificate and 3 percent will obtain a bachelor’s degree. In addition, 50 percent of foster youth are homeless during the first two years after exiting foster care; 50 percent of former foster youths are unemployed; and, 60 percent of female foster youth become pregnant within a few years of aging out of the system. Statistical Information on Foster Youth provided by Norco College.
“While these statistics are alarming, it is important for us to recognize that we, as educators, can help turn these statistics around,” said Koji Uesugi, chair of the Foster Youth Success Committee. “By working with our faculty and staff at the college and partnering with members of our local community, we can leverage resources to help these resilient young women and men realize their potential in college.”
Norco College’s Foster Care Awareness Month is the College’s first attempt to bring the plight of foster youth to the attention of local educators and community officials. Activities are co-sponsored by the College’s student government, Associated Students of Norco College, and a grant by the Stuart Foundation, a philanthropic organization that has contributed over $250 million to various projects, programs and organizations that benefit under-served children and youth since 1985.