header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather


 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
July 20
2001 - Then-Assemblyman George Runner introduces legislation to memorialize the historic Ridge Route. Enacted Oct. 4. [story]
Ridge Route


Santa Clarita Valley nonprofit Fostering Youth Independence recently held a “Celebration of Everything,” its annual event appreciating the many volunteers who make such a difference in the lives of Santa Clarita Valley foster youth and celebrating 18 youth for education milestones.

Approximately 170 people came together for FYI’s celebration, which thanked the organization’s 100 volunteers for all they do to support local foster youth, and honored 18 new graduates: eight youth received high school diplomas, six completed certificate programs, two received associate degrees and two received bachelor’s degrees.

Additionally, FYI acknowledged the 17 new youth who joined the organization in the past year, as well as eight youth who obtained their drivers licenses through FYI’s “Ready, Set Drive!” program. Among the volunteers thanked were Allies, tutors, staff, support volunteers, board members and sponsors.

The largest foster youth support organization in the SCV, FYI aims to lift up the community’s transition age foster youth (ages 16 to 25) with needed resources as they age out of the foster system and work to complete a post-secondary education to prepare to become successful, independent adults.

FYI Executive Director and Co-Founder Carolyn Olsen welcomed the assembled guests to the event.

“Please take a lookSsafS around the room, and you will find the most incredible people, capable young adults who have entrusted us to help guide them to the future they deserve and a group of volunteers and staff who are united by their care for and commitment to these amazing youth,” Olsen said. “FYI has been blessed with an abundance of people who are making a difference in the lives of young people who are aging out of the foster care system. Currently we have over 100 people who are donating their time, talents and love to make this community a better place.”

Inspirational remarks were made during the evening by Marquis Williams, a former foster youth who was in 12 different foster homes growing up and author of “Beating the System: My Life in Foster Care.”

“You are not defined by your past. It may not always be easy, but never stop believing in yourself because you have the strength to rise above challenges and make your dreams a reality,” Williams said.

He also said that it just takes one caring adult to make a difference in the life of a foster youth.

“Every youth in this room has achieved something to be proud of this year. I want to thank each one of you for being brave enough to allow FYI into your lives, persistent enough to keep pushing yourself despite the challenges, and strong enough to get up every day to fight for a future you have always deserved. Each one of you worked hard to get to this moment, and it has not been easy. There have been obstacles along the way. You persevered and are choosing the life you want for yourself and leaving behind the cards you’ve been dealt. You inspire me every day,” said Gina Stevens, program director and co-founder of FYI.”

One of the youths celebrated during the event, Karina, who received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Providence and is now working as an oncology nurse, shared an important piece of advice for foster youth.

“Don’t ever forget about the power of asking for help,” she said. “It’s not a sign of weakness, but instead a sign of strength and understanding that advice and help from others will help you to dream big and create the life you envision for yourselves.”

During the celebration event several FYI youths made heartfelt comments about how much their Allies mean to them as they have been preparing for a life of independent living.

“I would like to personally thank my Ally Katie, for being in my life because she has changed the way I see life since the first moment she came into it. She has seen me in my darkest of times when I felt unlovable. For once, she made me feel like I wasn’t a burden or that I was worthy of receiving kindness. She helps me to see things differently, and I feel empowered to keep moving forward no matter what life throws at me,” said Jhoana.

“I would like to thank my Ally Lori for all the wonderful things she has done for me and for all of the support she has given me along the way. I’m grateful that each of us can experience having someone who has our back and supports us. And who can help us achieve our life goals and help us overcome obstacles we might face,” said Sharina.

“I would like to first thank FYI and the entire organization for every opportunity you have given me. They have given trust, love and dedication to every individual who has come asking for help. And I would like to thank my Ally Russ for everything he has done for me. The bond and friendship we have built over the past few years has been amazing. Every moment has been appreciated and made memorable,” said Ryan.

“I’d like to thank my Ally Crystal, for always being there for me. She has known me since I was 16, and now that I’m 22 we can both confirm there have been so many ups and downs over the years. She has always been by my side when a lot of people have turned away from me. Crystal will always be a constant person in my life. I haven’t had any consistency, being moved from home to home throughout my life, so there is always a place in my heart for Crystal,” said Brittany.

“Having an Ally in my life is like having a shoulder to lean on or someone to go to when I have questions. An Ally is someone who will talk you through things, be a helping hand or a stepping stone, and be someone who wants to push you and make you the best they know you can be. For me, I’ve always felt like the world was against me, that I never had anyone, and for a portion of my life, that was true. That was until I was able to meet Jason. Jason is someone I’m able to talk to and not feel like an outcast like I did my entire life. I want to thank Jason for all the love and support you have provided me,” said Vincent.

A presentation of several scholarships was also a highlight of the evening. Steve Corn, Scott Hoolahan and Jason Downs from the Rotary Club of SCV presented three youth with scholarships to help them complete their bachelor’s degrees.

Enrique Borja, representing Elite Network Partners, presented five scholarships to youth who have just completed their junior year of college to “help them cross the finish line.”

The graduation of FYI’s youth was especially impressive given that only 55% of foster youth graduate from high school. Outcomes for former foster youth are poor, with half becoming homeless or incarcerated within two years of aging out of the system. Only 4% go on to earn a bachelor’s degree and rates of unemployment and poverty are high.

“FYI and our incredible Allies and volunteers are working hard to break this cycle for foster youth,” said Olsen.

Olsen thanked the sponsors who generously supported the event: Holly Thompson Homes, Jeremy and Mindy Andreasen, KPMG, Shepard Insurance Agency and U.S. Bank. Photography for the evening was generously donated by Rob Comeau Media Productions.

“Their sponsorships show that there are many in our community who truly care about our foster youth, and for their support we are truly grateful,” she said.

For more information about Fostering Youth Independence and ways to become involved, support and donate visit www.fyifosteryouth.org or call (661) 360-1500.

FYI is the largest Santa Clarita Valley-based nonprofit supporting local foster youth who have aged out of the Los Angeles County foster care system without being adopted or reunified with their birth parents. FYI addresses the serious challenges faced by these youth, which include not finishing high school or pursuing higher education, homelessness and incarceration. FYI offers local foster youth numerous resources to help overcome past traumas, complete an education, gain employment and become successful, independent adults.

FYI currently serves 76 transition age (16-25 years) foster youth in the Santa Clarita Valley and has supported 165 local youth since its inception in 2017. It assigns each youth a caring adult volunteer Ally and a coordinator to help them set and achieve goals in areas such as education, employment, housing, finances, health, transportation, assistance with college applications, enrollment and class registration, and referrals to resources for food, housing, health, mental health and employment. It also provides emergency financial assistance when an unexpected expense such as a car repair threatens to derail a youth’s educational plans. FYI offers The Study Place for learning support and tutoring, a Ready, Set Drive! program to assist youth in obtaining a drivers license, a monthly ReNew life coaching session, personalized Money Matters financial literacy education, hosts events throughout the year where the youth can connect with other youth and Allies to create a community of support and partners with College of the Canyons for referrals and counseling. It also provides school supplies, holiday gifts and household items for youth moving into new homes with few possessions.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NONPROFIT LINKS

NONPROFIT HEADLINES
Friday, Jul 19, 2024
The Santa Clarita Master Chorale, Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra and the Child & Family Center have all earned grants from the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.
Friday, Jul 19, 2024
Every day ​115 lives are taken by Metastatic Breast Cancer in the United States. The Met Gala SCV is part of a nationwide effort by METAvivor, a volunteer-led, non-profit organization. We exclusively fund Metastatic Breast Cancer research through rigorous scientific peer-review.
Friday, Jul 19, 2024
Tim Williams, a lifelong resident of Val Verde and member of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society Advisory Board, is working to make sure his community and its storied past is not forgotten.
Thursday, Jul 18, 2024
In celebration of Zonta leadership in the Santa Clarita Valley, ten past presidents of the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley hosted the Installation of Officers and Directors for the 2024-2026 biennium on Monday, May 20 at the beautiful patio of Salt Creek Grille in Valencia.
Thursday, Jul 18, 2024
The Sierra Hillbillies Square and Round Dance club invites the community to a "Back to the Beach" themed square dance Sunday, Aug. 4, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Valencia United Methodist Church.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
2001 - Then-Assemblyman George Runner introduces legislation to memorialize the historic Ridge Route. Enacted Oct. 4. [story]
Ridge Route
Each year, since 1959, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors funds the production of a free holiday celebration at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Dec. 24.
Apply to Appear in 65th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration
Caltrans announces the northbound Interstate 5 will be reduced to one or two lanes overnights Monday, July 22 through Friday, July 26 from Lake Hughes Road to two miles north of Templin Highway (near the Whitaker Sand Shed) north of Castaic for paving work.
Northbound I-5 Lanes Reduced Overnights in Castaic Area
The Santa Clarita Master Chorale, Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra and the Child & Family Center have all earned grants from the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.
Master Chorale, SCYA, Child & Family Center Earn County Art Grants
Santa Clarita Public Libraries will host Tin Can art craft events at all three of the Santa Clarita branches July 23-25 at 5:30-6:30 p.m.
July 23-25: Tin Can Art Craft Events at Santa Clarita Library Branches
Sign up to volunteer today for the city of Santa Clarita’s Third Annual Graffiti Removal Day on Saturday, Aug. 3, 8-11 a.m. at Soledad Canyon Road and Camp Plenty.
Aug. 3: Third Annual Graffiti Removal Day
The Canyon County Community Center will host "Celebrate," an events series that celebrates cultures, customs and culinary wonders on Friday, Aug. 9, from 6-9 p.m.
Aug. 9: Celebrate Japanese Culture at Canyon Country Community Center
The Valencia Public Library will host a Teens DIY craft event for journals Thursday, July 25 from 3:30- 4:30 p.m. at 23743 Valencia Blvd, Valencia, CA 91355.
July 25: Teen DIY Craft Journal Event at Valencia Public Library
The city of Santa Clarita will present “Textura,” an original paintings and mosaic work exhibition by local artist Naomi Young.
‘Textura’ Exhibition by Naomi Young at The MAIN
Join Amazing Dog Rescue at PetSmart to meet the cutest, most amazing, fluffy friends searching for their forever homes, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Sunday, July 21.
July 21: Amazing Dog Adoption Event at Petsmart
Every day ​115 lives are taken by Metastatic Breast Cancer in the United States. The Met Gala SCV is part of a nationwide effort by METAvivor, a volunteer-led, non-profit organization. We exclusively fund Metastatic Breast Cancer research through rigorous scientific peer-review.
Sept. 21: Met Gala SCV Seeks Sponsors
Did you know that the summer season is the busiest intake time for Animal Care Centers? It’s also the best time to add a new furry friend to your family.
July 27: Santa Clarita Will Waive Animal Adoption Fees
Tim Williams, a lifelong resident of Val Verde and member of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society Advisory Board, is working to make sure his community and its storied past is not forgotten.
Val Verde Historical Society Seeks New Members
The California Department of Transportation has announced emergency repairs on State Route 126 to clear the shoulder and roadway of mudslide/debris, clear and clean drainage systems, repair damaged slopes and place erosion control.
SR-126 Highway Debris Removal, Emergency Repairs Project
1915 - Ince, Griffith, Sennett form Triangle Film Corp.; it produces & distributes early William S. Hart films [story]
Triangle Films
In celebration of Zonta leadership in the Santa Clarita Valley, ten past presidents of the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley hosted the Installation of Officers and Directors for the 2024-2026 biennium on Monday, May 20 at the beautiful patio of Salt Creek Grille in Valencia.
Zonta SCV Installs 2024-2026 Leadership
Summer is here! With the season in full swing and kids starting their school break, the city of Santa Clarita welcomes youth to one of its most popular and long-standing programs:
Marsha McLean | Santa Clarita Community Centers’ Summer Camps
The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued an excessive heat warning for the Santa Clarita Valley Friday, July 19 through Wednesday, July 24 as triple digit temperatures have been forecast.
Excessive Heat Advisory Issued for SCV
Toby Lite, a middle infielder from Saugus High School has signed his national letter of intent to play baseball at The Master's University.
Saugus High Infielder Toby Lite Signs with TMU Baseball
The Outlets at Tejon are helping kids get ready for the new school year with its Back-to-School Bonanza happening Saturday, Aug. 3, beginning at 1 p.m.
Aug. 3: Back-to-School Bonanza at Tejon Outlets
Every summer, The Master’s University sends students across the world to partner with missionaries, pastors, and church planters in sharing the gospel and serving local bodies of believers.
TMU’s 2024 Global Outreach Team Travels the World
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station is asking for the public's help in identifying grand theft suspects in a crime that occurred in Valencia.
LASD Asking for Public’s Help in Identifying Grand Theft Suspects
The Sierra Hillbillies Square and Round Dance club invites the community to a "Back to the Beach" themed square dance Sunday, Aug. 4, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Valencia United Methodist Church.
Aug. 4: Sierra Hillbillies Hosting ‘Back to the Beach’ Square Dance
The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board unanimously approved the appointment of Susan Kim as the newest assistant principal at West Ranch High School.
Hart District Appoints Susan Kim New West Ranch Assistant Principal
SCVNews.com