CL is a bright, vibrant, and very popular sixteen-year-old girl at St. Edmund Preparatory High School in Sheepshead Bay,Brooklyn, where she is currently in her junior year. She is in the Honors’ Math program and maintains a solid (B) average. In addition to participating in the Track, Chorus, Photography, and PSAT clubs, CL earns leadership skills by teaching gym to the freshman class.
CL is also an EGSCF youth, whose formative years were spent growing up in a home where she endured sexual abuse, and was surrounded by adults who regularly abused Methadone and other drugs, and consumed alcohol on a daily basis.
CL has been in care for five years. She was nominated for recognition as an EGSCF Education Success story by her Caseworker, Michelle Vaden, for overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles while in foster care placement. At the start of the interview, when asked what has changed in her life, CL expressed with true concern that, “Only 2% of kids in foster care go on to attend college”. Although the actual national average is a bit higher, hovering around 10%, this alarming statistic is the main factor that drives CL to succeed. In addition, CL credits much of her success to having a few good teachers, EGSCF staff, friends, and the patient motivation of her Aunt. She states that, “My Aunt has been my rock. I used to be hyper and now I am much calmer because I know that I am in a good place”. CL is also appreciative of Michelle for encouraging her to stay focused and locating educational and mental health resources including referring her to the Bridges to Health (B2H) Program for additional services that will support and improve her health and well-being. She added that, “I know that I have hope for the future that was not secure before”.
As a young girl, CL claims that her Mom had a ‘don’t care’ attitude towards everything, including her child’s safety and education due many years of drug abuse. As a result, CL did not attend school on a regular basis. When she did attend, between the 3rd and 8th grades, she was routinely teased because she did not fit in. Peer pressure from classmates caused CL to skip school more often.
When CL was in the 6th grade, her sporadic attendance caught the attention of school officials and ACS was notified which resulted in her placement in her Aunts’ home. For CL the first year in placement was unsettling. The move from a home without boundaries to a structured setting was a bit more than the pre-teen expected. She had no motivation to do homework or study. Her 7th and 8th grade experiences were similar. The only area where she had shown any improvement was in school attendance.
Upon entering her first year in high school, CL recognized that she needed academic assistance in certain areas and sought out tutoring services. Even now, CL continues to have difficulties with some subjects. She admits that she is still in the process of learning Basic English grammar and writing skills. While in the 9th grade, CL found a young caring female teacher that she genuinely liked and could identify with, who was committed to showing respect and recognition to her students. As a result, CL began to work harder and complete extra credit assignments. During her freshman year, she earned a 99% average and received Honor’s recognition for the same course of math study that she had failed in the 8th grade and had to repeat.
CL continued to improve and solidify her grades over the course of her sophomore year. She ended the year with Honor’s Math recognition. Today, CL is much more appreciative of her Aunt and their strengthened family ties, than when she first came into the home. CL is now in the final stages of being adopted by her Aunt. To commemorate the adoption, Aunt and niece plan to take a cruise to Bermuda to jointly celebrate their most recent birthdays.
CL has a clear vision of her future. She aspires to become a teacher. After high school, she plans to major in sports or religious studies at one of the local City colleges or universities, or St.Francis College. In her free time, CL enjoys reading. She is currently reading “The Glass Castle”, by author Janet Wall.