The foster care youth population has significantly higher rates of complications surrounding their education. For example, the average reading level of 17-18 year olds in foster care is only equivalent to 7th grade.
This is due in part to the fact that 34% percent of 17-18 year olds in care have experienced over five school changes.
While the lives of foster youth are inherently tumultuous, one thing that has remained a constant in their lives is the dedication of all staff, board members, and volunteers at Compass For Youth. One-on-one attention is often missing from many aspects of a foster student’s life, considering they live in facilities of up to 45 other youth. It is Compass’ goal to go the extra distance to ensure foster youth feel supported, accounted for, and listened to in every aspect of their personal and educational goals. A check-in phone call, taking the time to listen to their needs and difficulties, or purchasing a UCLA sweatshirt for a student excited about their future- these are some of the ways our staff attend to not just the student, but the whole person. A staff member from a group home Compass services had this to say about one of our mentors:
“Lauren is consistently reliable, available, and invested in our youth. She truly cares and has a strong relationship with each youth she serves. Along with the other staff at Compass For Youth, they are consistently a major force in guiding these students on the right path to education. They greet the students with smiles, make tutoring engaging, and treat them with wholehearted respect and kindness.”
Experiences like this are not just random acts of kindness at Compass For Youth. They are an expectation of performance, which our staff consistently deliver.
However, a caring and professional staff is just one side of the equation for a successful non-profit organization. Another critical aspect is ensuring that our staff has access to the best facilities, technology, and equipment with which to provide the best possible service for our youth. Our goal is to be able to provide our community of scholars with the highest level of care. However, we are hampered in our efforts due to financial constraints arising from a lack of funding for these programs from these state-run and private group homes. They struggle to provide basic needs and housing for their youth and unfortunately do not have a budget for their educational expenses: like tutoring, college applications, or college tours.
While our various funding sources enable us to remain solvent and cover basic operating costs, they are inadequate to make the changes necessary to serve a larger student population and offer more resources, which we strive for. If we do not consistently grow- we run the risk of leaving thousands of students out of the opportunity to avoid the likelihood of poverty, or homelessness, through higher education.
With community support, we can achieve our vision of every foster youth in California enrolling in a university when they age out of care. These gifts are investments in the future of our forgotten children in California and ensure that Compass For Youth continues to provide superior educational services to the youth that need it most.