Brett McNaught named Champion for Children
Miami, Florida, September 10, 2018 On Friday, September 7th, youth advocate, Brett McNaught, received the 2018 Child Welfare Champion Award from Mike Carroll, the Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, presented at a special closing ceremony of the 2018 Child Protection Summit in Orlando.
Brett was joined onstage by his wife, Virginia Emmons McNaught, the President and Cofounder of Educate Tomorrow, and their two children, Emma and Miles. Brett was selected for this prestigious award for his tireless work on behalf of disadvantaged youth as the leader of Educate Tomorrow, a Miami-based nonprofit organization, that has grown over the past six years since he became the CEO, achieving 1,000% programmatic growth and 400% revenue growth over that time period.
He was recognized for his “steadfast advocacy” which “has made a positive impact on the lives of Florida’s youth and their families.” Under Brett’s activism, advocacy, leadership, guidance and tireless efforts, Educate Tomorrow has grown into a recognized leader in the field of foster care and homeless youth.
Children in Florida who are from foster care, adopted or homeless receive a tuition exemption at state colleges and public universities, and career and technical colleges. Brett’s work in this field, and his ability to increase graduation rates for this population, was a major contributing factor to recognizing him as a Child Welfare Champion. Focusing on academics, Educate Tomorrow’s aim is for disadvantaged young people to graduate high school and go on to achieve a postsecondary education degree or certificate, in order to achieve independence.
More than 1,200 young people are currently served by Educate Tomorrow, and, as a direct result of its programs, more than 150 students have received a college degree, vocational certification, or graduate degree. Under Brett’s leadership, the program has expanded beyond Florida into Texas, Colorado, and California as well.
Brett said, “We believe that talent is equally distributed, but opportunity isn’t. So, we connect talented people with opportunities. And we will go on doing it until our services are no longer necessary.”
Educate Tomorrow has received awards for partnership, leadership and innovation from Florida International University, Miami Dade College, Voices for Children, Switchboard Miami, The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, American Red Cross Women's Spectrum awards and College Board.
Brett is an alumnus of the National Urban Fellows Executive Leadership Program and the Miami Foundation Miami Leaders program where he attended the FIU High Potential Leader Program.
Before leading Educate Tomorrow, Brett was an officer of BuildOn where he led their International programs from 2005-2012 overseeing the construction of more than 1,000 classrooms for more than 40,000 children in rural Haiti, Nicaragua, Senegal, Mali, Malawi, Niger, Nepal and India.
Brett also served as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa from 2001-2003. He holds a M.S. Ed in Community and Social Change from the University of Miami. He is currently a board member of Hope for Haiti, and has been integral as the co-chair of the Education and Employment Committee for Helping Our Miami Youth (HOMY).
Educate Tomorrow is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides educational opportunities to disadvantzged children, creating a positive and enduring impact on their academic, personal and professional lives, helping them mature into strong, contributing members of our community.
If you would like more information about this topic, please call JR Fry at (305) 490-1938, or email email@example.com.
The HOMY Collective
As CEO of Educate Tomorrow I am proud to be a member of the H.O.M.Y. Collective Impact. The Helping Our Miami-Dade Youth (H.O.M.Y.) Collective is a collective impact collaboration of over 60 organizations and youth leaders working to prevent and end youth homelessness in Miami-Dade County. The H.O.M.Y. Collectives mission is based on the belief that no young person should spend a single night sleeping outdoors simply because they do not have access to safe housing. I have been impressed with the leadership of this effort and am inspired by the results that have already been attained the past few years. As the Education and Employment Committee co-chair I have seen first hand how dedicated individuals from around the county are working in a concerted effort to share resources and align ourselves in an efficient and effective way to serve these young people. Please take some time to check out their new website and share this as a resource with anyone who can help. https://www.homycollective.org/
EDUCATE TOMORROW GALA-RY 2018
The party has become the envy of many non-profits in so many ways, but the crowd mix is one of its most amazing features, where the truly funky meet up with the fun-lovers, alongside powerbrokers, artists, creative types and fashionistas. Educate Tomorrow supports teens and young adults trantioning out of foster care or homelessness, assisting them in succeeding in college and providing them with a life-long community of support and opportunity. These students qualify for a tuition and fee waiver to any public college or university in Florida. Educate Tomorrow serves more than 600 students, with a goal to reach 1,000 in 2018 CLICK HERE to view our Gala Images:
Meet John Lopez
Positive Pathways for Foster Youth in College
Florida is a national leader when it comes to promoting post-secondary education for young people from foster care. In 2014, the Florida legislature mandated that all public colleges and universities appoint liaisons to work with students using the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) tuition and fee waiver.
To ensure that these liaisons know about their roles, and the young people they are expected to help through college, DCF establish Positive Pathways.
DCF has set up this website to help foster care liaisons, and everyone else in Florida that is working with these young people, unite their forces to tackle the daunting challenge before us all -- a graduation rate among former foster youth that is too low.
Positive Pathways exists to support foster care liaisons and other student service and child welfare professionals. Few other states in the national have a program like Positive Pathways.
If you are a foster care liaison, you will be your institution’s or agency’s primary point of contact for these students as they begin a new chapter of their life – full of promise and possibilities, also many new unfamiliar challenges.
As you serve these students, Positive Pathways is here to provide you with training, networking opportunities, and technical support you need to be effective in this new role. Together we can help these young transitioning adults reach their educational and life goals.
Thank you for visiting our website. We look forward to working with you.
Mindfullness at Educate Tomorrow
The P3, Finding Your Power Purpose and Presence summer executive internship 2017, began with the same zeal and enthusiasm as previous years. This was particularly special because, this transformative work was being introduced to a fourth cohort of young women. Over the years observing the interns’ growth, (albeit incremental) as a result of their executive development training - is encouraging. Most of the young women recognize, embracing and applying mindfulness tools, is a lifelong practice–that works if you work it.
This summary reflects the experience of the 20 young women that have completed the 2017 Summer Executive Internship Program. The internship follows the course outline of Finding your Power, Purpose and Presence (P3). P3 is a life skills course that focuses on strategies, that enhance an appreciation for personal well-being and an awareness of the benefits of mindfulness. Instilling how learning to be still, introspective and reflective, accesses the true source to making mindful decisions while navigating life.
The course design considers the six human needs for optimal functioning. Love & compassion, gratitude & happiness, peace, a vision for your life, a sense of control and feeling supported. It also recognizes that self-control is a major characteristic that all successful people share. All the material used promotes a heightening of these experiences. Course components focus on identifying personal strengths and assets, by sharing strategies and tools that guide participants on a journey of self- discovery.
Working with our partners at Miami Dade College, Fostering Panther Pride at Florida International University and Casa Valentina, we identified a group of potential candidates. Participation guidelines support young women who are currently in college or rising freshmen, and who have aged out of the foster care system or are experiencing homelessness.
To Be Mindful…
“One topic that stood out for me was Mindfulness. This is the practice of cultivating a focused awareness on the present moment. Basically, paying attention on purpose, being present in the moment. Ms. A asked us when we are angry, where do we feel the anger. I said, in my throat and my chest. There’s this uncomfortable feeling that happens when I’m upset. This awareness of thought, feelings and bodily sensations is mindfulness. JF
“Something that stuck with me was me learning to pay attention to the moments of anger and frustration, and knowing how to spot the indicators - so I have the option of stopping or controlling the emotion is much higher and possible.” DM
Being mindful of the words we speak to ourselves and how I deserve nothing but love from myself. Creating the “I am” list gives me a visual representation of things I need to tell myself when self-doubt shows itself. DM
“Being mindful to me is paying attention to …. well paying attention. I didn’t realize that I’m not paying attention until I Payed attention. It is a practice.” TT
Giving Thanks; I am Grateful….
“Seeing my growth over this summer internship has me in shock but I’m very proud of myself for going through with this, sticking to it and to doing the work. I am very proud of the woman I am becoming, to see my transformation happen right before me. I never felt so great and all I know is that I want to continue feeling like this and doing these amazing things in my future. Now I know I can be great and now I can show up in the world and be awesome.” VG
“This summer I learned about gratitude, I am so grateful for ET and this internship experience.”
“I really liked the fact that this internship has allowed and helped me to understand things more, understand me more. It has enabled me to realize that I am really interested in finding out more about myself and becoming one with that great achiever that is still hiding behind them excuses.” TT
How Educate Tomorrow Began in 2003
In 2003 the Emmons sisters, transplants to the Miami area with a commitment to social justice, stumbled upon a piece of barely known Florida legislation. Florida Statute 1009.25 set forth that any Floridian who grew up in foster care, had spent time without a home or was adopted out of the foster care system, had the opportunity to attend any state college, university or vocational program tuition free. Yet at this point in time, nationally branded organizations founded on disadvantaged youth advocacy were unaware of this opportunity and not actively promoting it. Community colleges did not know how to process a state tuition waiver of this nature and of the thousands of kids who enter the Florida dependency system each year, just 8 were utilizing this lifesaving advantage, despite its having been law for almost a decade.
In an effort to end the cycle of delinquency, poverty, and dependence plaguing those who grow up in foster care, the sisters quickly founded Educate Tomorrow with an ethos of Independence Through Education. Education is proven to be a leading indicator of adult success and knowing this the sisters decided that every young person who has experienced abandonment, homelessness or abuse should have a professional mentor to help them realize their potential, and that this support should be a constant. There are a multitude of noble impactful charities which help vulnerable youth in incredible ways, but almost all these services conclude for young people after their 18th birthday or high school graduation, leaving them with the rug figuratively pulled out from under them. Educate Tomorrow is unique in our belief that we are a family to all our students who have never had the benefits of a nurturing family environment. You never age out of a family and Educate Tomorrow believes in creating a Continuum of Care staying engaged with our youth through graduation, college, graduate school, employment and beyond. As our students age, accrue degrees, become young professionals and even parents themselves, our programming continues to evolves in breadth and depth with a focus on meeting our population where they are, working with community partners to provide individually tailored wraparound services for each Educate Tomorrow student.