Winston-Salem, NC – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) has awarded the Crosby Scholars Community Partnership $500,000 to pilot a five-year Foster Care Youth Initiative to increase the number of Forsyth County foster care youth who enroll in 4-year and 2-year colleges or other post-secondary educational opportunities.
“We are fortunate to have this opportunity to reach a new target group thanks to Blue Cross NC’s support,” said Mrs. Mona W. Lovett, President and CEO of Crosby Scholars. “Foster care youth have the lowest college-going rates among students, and Crosby Scholars has resources to boost their success in attaining post-secondary education,” said Lovett.
Better Care Network reports that just 20% of foster youth who graduate from high school attend college. However, 84% of 17 to 18-year-old foster youth want to go to college.
Students in the Foster Care Youth Initiative will benefit from Crosby Scholars programming, one-on-one advising, and Last Dollar Grants helping them to prepare for college, as well as enroll and afford college. The Crosby Scholars Program will also offer workshops for foster parents to help them understand how to support their foster children in pursuing their post-secondary plans. Additionally, once a student in foster care joins the Crosby Scholars Program, the student will be eligible for program resources even if they move outside of Forsyth County.
“Our work with the Crosby Scholars Program reflects the reality that post-secondary education and training opens doorways to better paying jobs, providing greater access to nutritious food, healthy housing, transportation and the other non-medical resources essential for good health,” said Blue Cross NC’s Senior Vice President of Government Markets Fran Gary. “We are committed to investing in initiatives that give every individual the opportunity to be healthy, and we are proud to collaborate with the Crosby Scholars Community Partnership toward a shared vision of a healthier, happier North Carolina.”
Crosby Scholars will collaborate with the Forsyth County Department of Social Services and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools to identify students in foster care early, so they can be connected to an advisor in sixth grade when Crosby Scholars programming begins. The Crosby Scholars FCYI Advisors will connect with the students in multiple ways, including individual and small group meetings during school hours and engaging foster parents to develop an individualized plan to reach their post-secondary goals. Students will benefit from tutoring, mentoring, and life skills and career exploration workshops. Advisors will also offer assistance in completing college admission and financial aid applications, exploring apprenticeship and certification opportunities, and funding opportunities.
The FCYI will allow for ongoing contact with students after they enroll in college to ensure they have the support and resources they need.
“We look forward to being part of the fabric of community support for our foster care youth by helping them to pursue their post-secondary goals and boosting their economic mobility,” said Lovett.
To learn more about Crosby Scholars visit www.crosbyscholars.org.