LatinaLista — A study by the University of Chicago found that less than ten percent of children who go through the foster care system ever graduate from college. One of the lucky ones is Marquis Cabrera.
Abandoned as an infant and spending most of his youth in foster care until he was adopted, Cabrera went on to not only finish college but worked in several co-op programs – one which took him to the White House.
Yet, it was during one other co-op experience that he was paired with at-risk youth. He realized that they, like he had been, needed extra support and instruction on basic life skills. Wanting to do something to help foster children in the Boston area and remembering a challenge by First Lady Michelle Obama from his days interning at the White House to help the less fortunate, he decided to put off law school to concentrate on launching his new non-profit called Foster Skills, Inc.
Foster Skills acts as a support network and life skills coaching resource to foster care children in middle and high school. The organization, due to officially launch this fall, is managed by professionals who themselves are former foster care children.
The overall purpose of Foster Skills is three-fold:
1. Provide emotional development and interactive, practical, and transferable life skills
2. Bridge connections with like organizations, and connect foster youth to resource
3. Create awareness about the issues facing foster youth.
It’s estimated that there are 450,000 children in the nation’s foster care system. Once they leave the system, they are not prepared to live independently and many end up becoming homeless. It’s inevitable that they develop problems with drugs and alcohol.
Yet, Foster Skills works at empowering foster care children to rise above their challenges and succeed.
In addition to offering youth in foster care the opportunity to learn and develop important life skills, Foster Skills connects these youth to the resources and opportunities available to them through other agencies and programs. Many youth in Foster Care are not aware of the resources available to them. Foster Skills is the bridge for these youth to help them reach their fullest potential.
Also,Foster Skills host a monthly skill-building workshop for the youth who are involved in the program. Each monthly workshop focuses on a separate skill or set of skills, and each month will build-off of skills learned during previous months.
Every day our staff wakes up believing that all foster youth deserve opportunities to achieve success, and we believe the only way for them to achieve the best success is to develop a sense of community.