Promoting Degree Attainment Among Former Foster Youth: An Exploration of Florida's Policies, Programs, and Practices to Improve Postsecondary Education for Foster Youth
Helios Education Foundation is dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals in Arizona and Florida by creating opportunities for success in postsecondary education. Helios supports initiatives that address the multitude of challenges students face across the education continuum.
Educate Tomorrow, an organization committed to providing educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth, exemplifies the mission and values of Helios. Recently, Helios and Educate Tomorrow began a partnership to explore data related to the postsecondary opportunities available to Florida students preparing to “age out” of the foster care system. Together we wanted to understand the programs and support available to these students. Additionally, we wanted to identify any trends or impacts that these policies and practices may have upon postsecondary persistence and completion.
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From Instability at Home to Study Overseas
In March 2017, Carol Reyes, global education director at Miami Dade College, organized what she called a “summit” to inform students on the benefits of studying abroad.
“We wanted to explain the importance of how it would enhance their education, the skills they would learn and so forth,” she recalled.
The afternoon of the event, she met a student in the halls and invited her. “I told her, ‘We have free dinner.’ Students love free food,” Ms. Reyes said.
The student agreed to attend, and expressed interest afterward in joining one of the classes going abroad that summer. At the end of the conversation, she told Ms. Reyes, “Oh by the way, I’m homeless, is that a problem?”
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