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Promise Scholars helps former foster youth achieve education goals
promise scholars
California State University, Stanislaus Promise Scholars 2013 graduates Eric Meneses, Monica Rucker, Paula Garcia, Jade Mosely and David Hernandez. - photo by Photo Contributed

From an early age, Long Beach native Jade Mosely faced many obstacles. She was removed from her birth parents who were battling drug addiction and raised by the foster care system. Her challenges could have easily stopped her from her pursuing her goals but last week she graduated with a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Stanislaus.

While attending CSU Stanislaus, Mosely became part of Promise Scholars, a program that provides foster youth the support and resources they need to succeed in college. Led by director Wanda Bonnell, the program gives students individualized attention, helping them identify and apply for financial aid resources and housing while offering academic guidance and counseling.

“I could not have made it without the help and guidance from Wanda,” said Mosely. “She was a huge support system and my mother far away from home. She is a remarkable woman.”

Throughout her four years of college, Mosely has excelled as a student, making the dean’s list and being admitted into the Honors Program at CSU Stanislaus. She plans to apply for the Master of Social Work program in hopes of helping at-risk youth as a social worker.

“The Promise Scholars is an extended family for me on campus because there are students who faced similar obstacles as me,” said Mosely.

Promise Scholars helps coordinate housing, grants, scholarships, tutoring services, health care, psychological counseling, and various support services for former foster youth students at CSU Stanislaus, as well as foster youth on the verge of emancipating from the system. The program launched in 2006, and has gained steam to give students a fighting chance in college.

"The vast majority of foster youth and other children without parents do not see higher education as a likely future goal," Bonnell said. "For Promise Scholars, having a program that provides specialized, one-on-one support services gives them the confidence they need to succeed."

The statistics for former foster youth at college is rough. Only 10 percent even make it to college and only three percent actually make it through to graduate.

“What is really telling is that over 70 percent of foster youth say they want to go to college but they don’t know where or how to go.  A lot of people don’t realize there are programs like this,” said Bonnell.

CSU Stanislaus is a partner in the Northern California University Foster Youth Consortium, which is dedicated to providing opportunities through various organizations.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of the program even though I graduated,” said Mosely. “I want to stay around and help out prospect students by providing encouragement and support.”