According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS, 2007), there are approximately 300,000 young adults ages 18 to 25 years old who have spent at least one year in foster care. In 2003, the average stay of a child in a foster home was around 31 months, and the average age for a child to join the foster care system was around ten years old. 55 percent of children in the foster care system return to their original parents or guardians after placement of foster care. Those who are not put into foster homes are placed into group homes or in alternative environments such as emergency foster care. As a result, approximately 25,000 youth “age-out ” of the system, and graduate high school at a 50 percent rate nationally. Whereas the overall U.S. graduation rate for high school students is 70 percent (U.S. Department of Education, 2000).
Nationally, about 20,000 young people age out of foster care each year. While about 70 percent of young people in foster care indicate that they want to go to college, only 20 percent of those who graduate from high school actually enroll in a higher education institution. Further, only 26 percent of those who enroll go on to earn a degree. We want to change this statistic.
After being adopted at the age of 16 and seeing two of her siblings not graduate high school, Kim Snodgrass founded REACH (Realizing Every Action Creates Hope) in 2010 to break the cycle. The goal of REACH is to prevent adulthood struggles and increase academic achievement. The observable outcomes that indicate the success of REACH are measurement of student grades (GPA records) and progress determined from pre and post qualitative evaluations from participants of REACH, that will measure growth from the services.
Children in foster care and labeled as at risk, need better guidance in all aspects of growing up individually. These children need resources at a younger age to raise the college question, and to push for success. Children need knowledgeable families (legal guardian, foster families), social workers, and mentors to help guide them in a direction sometimes never dreamed of, college. In order to reach this need we have teamed up with mentors to offer the following to our mentees:
- 2 hours a month of guidance and goal setting with a one-to-one partnered mentor
- Backpack for success- School supplies to achieve with clean and reliable resources
- Wish list- Item that the student wishes to have, but cannot attain, this may be any desired item, but within guidelines.
- Compensation for Success- Stipend for grade improvement, workshop-training completion, community service involvement, and more.
- Health care services- Psychological and mental health services to children who are in critical need. –Awareness on eating healthy (for mental, dental, and physical reasons), living healthy, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Workshops for Independent Living- Money management, housing planning, friendship series (create and maintain relationships), family matters, study skills and habits, nutrition science on diet and grocery shopping, cooking class, safe sex practices, driver’s license and insurance, community service projects, entrepreneurship opportunities.
- Fitness Pass to local Gym- Need access and awareness of physical health up until the 25th birthday
- Project Give Back: Aid cannot just be given without giving to others first. We make sure to take our mentees on community service projects to give back to our community.
- Mental health research is currently being conducted by HEAR.
Our Mentee Referral Audience:
REACH is designed to be used by child advocates, non-profits, or schools that wish to help influence and change the current state of affairs within the national foster care and education systems.
This is our call for teachers, non-profit leaders, after school program directors, policy makers, social workers, and foster parents to send us a child in need, and we will match them with a mentor.
Advancement of the Field: Mentorship for teens in foster care has proven to make them far more successful than their counterparts within the foster care system. Preliminary findings include:
- Increased GPA
- Increased Happiness
- Increased completion of high school
- Increased admission to college
If you'd like to be a mentor or sign up a student, please contact us here.