Stephanie was placed in protective custody after the police responded to a neighbor’s call. It wasn’t the first time they had come to her home, but it was to be their last. Her mother, a victim of domestic violence, had been beaten to death by Stephanie’s father. Nine-year-old Stephanie hid in a secret place her mother had shown her long ago. She came out only when she was certain her father was gone; she came out to safety and to foster care.
No one expected Stephanie to remain in foster care. After all, she had a family. Surely someone would assume guardianship or even adopt. But as her caseworker explored every possibility, the odds dropped. As Stephanie turned ten and then eleven it became apparent she would spend her childhood in foster care.
Then Stephanie was placed with the Millers and their two sons. Mrs. Miller worked part time so she could be home when school let out. She made sure all three kids did their homework before they went out to play. Everyone had chores, everyone was held accountable and everyone was loved. Stephanie thrived in this environment and it showed. The Millers renamed her Sunny. She was a happy, social child who excelled in school and made friends easily.
Sunny started baby sitting when she was 12. Mrs. Miller enrolled her in a class for child care and then helped her open a bank account. Mrs. Miller taught her to sew, cook and told her she could do anything she set her mind to. “The sky’s the limit,” she would say. But that summer the Millers moved out of state and Sunny was moved to another foster home.
At sixteen she managed a weekend and summer job that she held until she graduated. Sunny thanked the Millers in her Valedictorian’s address and credited them with teaching her academic and financial responsibility and that “the sky’s the limit.” Sunny received a full scholarship to an eastern university. The CASA Foundation provided additional scholarship money to help her find housing. The Foundation will renew her scholarship yearly.
If foster/CASA kids are high school juniors or seniors who are planning to attend college, please begin now to check on grants and scholarships. These are a few places to start:
Nevada Millennium Scholarship
High school students who have attended a Nevada high school for two years, graduating in 2000 or after who receive a specified GPA and have passed the Nevada High School Proficiency Exam are eligible for the Millennium Scholarship. Names of eligible students are automatically submitted by the school district to the Millinnium Scholarship Office. There is no application form to complete. Students must attend a Nevada College or university and maintain a 2.5 GPA. Scholarship can total up to $10,000.
Students should speak to their high school counselors for confirmation of their eligibility and name submission. For enrollment and other information call toll free 1-888-477-2667 or visit the Nevada Millennium website.
Federal PELL Grants
If kids are Wards of the Court at age 18, they are eligible for PELL Grants. This covers tuition and books for colleges, universities and trade schools. Forms can be obtained from high school counselors or any college or university. Deadline to submit for fall classes is June 30. Out of state tuitions may cost extra, depending on school attending. CLICK HERE to complete a form online. or call 1-800-433-3243 for more information.
National Foster Parent Association Scholarship
The NFPA offers scholarships for foster youth who wish to further their education beyond high school, including college or university studies, vocational and job training, and correspondence courses, including the GED. Call 1-800-557-5238.
There are many other scholarships available. Check the web and libraries for lists of qualifications and deadlines. In addition, there are many scholarships available only to certain racial or ethnic groups. Check out everything you can.
BEFORE applying for a CASA Foundation Scholarship Funds, please submit applications for the above applicable scholarships and grants. Failure to do so may result in your request being delayed or denied.
CLICK HERE To complete a scholarship request form.