Crushing the Odds: Congratulations to College Graduates Tiara and Ash!
Youth Support Specialist, Annette Flores with Ash. Tiara at college graduation.
Two participants in Children’s Aid and Family Services’ Mobility Mentoring program graduated from college this spring, both with bright futures ahead and inspiring stories to share.
Mobility Mentoring is offered to young people aging out of foster care who are entering adulthood and losing vital support systems. One-on-one coaching helps them set goals, learn essential life skills, obtain higher education opportunities, and achieve financial independence.
We interviewed Anette Flores, Youth Support Specialist at Children’s Aid, and asked her to share a bit about her experience with these two inspiring young people.
In the foster care system for several years before being adopted by a very supportive mom, Tiara entered the Mobility Mentoring program as a determined young woman starting Stockton University in Galloway, N.J.
Mobility Mentoring offered Tiara counseling, scholarship aid and encouragement in all of her pursuits.
“Tiara has always had an incredibly positive attitude, but when she came to us, she needed some direction as well as someone in her corner, rooting for her,” says Annette. Tiara graduated from Stockton in May with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and surprised everyone when she enrolled in a summer program at the police academy.
“She wants to explore all of her options. I tell our participants to gather as many skills and tools as they can, and she’s done all of that,” explains Annette. Annette says that Tiara’s ultimate goal is to use her own personal experience to work with at-risk children.
“Tiara is a very determined and positive person. She will go as far as she wants to go. Nothing is getting in her way and we’re so proud of her.”
“We’re so honored to be able to support these two young people who have shown such strength under very challenging circumstances.”
Joining Mobility Mentoring a few years ago, Ash (who uses the pronouns they/them) had just moved from California, leaving behind a difficult adoptive situation.
“Ash had both health challenges and personal challenges, but took a leap of faith and moved East,” says Annette. “They enrolled in Mobility Mentoring, and as luck would have it, a paid internship with a Congressperson in D.C. became available. We encouraged Ash to accept it.”
The internship involved fact-checking and learning policy on the special needs population among children in foster care. “It was a perfect match!” Annette exclaims.
After that summer, Ash enrolled at Rutgers University and this spring graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Law and American Studies. They will be returning to Rutgers for both a master’s degree and law school starting in the fall. “The resilience that Ash has shown is truly amazing. Ash needed stability, and Mobility Mentoring has been there financially as well as with a positive support system in place,” says Annette.
This life-changing program is funded entirely by generous donors like you. Please make a donation today to help young people aging out of foster care make the critical transition to adulthood.