Foster youth are often denied access to adequate educational and residential programs that meet their unique needs within a supportive environment. The cruel and damaging effects of growing up in foster care without those needs met are staggering: high rates of young parenthood, unemployment, homelessness, inadequate health insurance, reliance on public assistance, severe mental illness and incarceration. Foster youth often emerge as young adults from our “system” without possessing the basic skills to survive. Less than 2% of Foster Youth (one twentieth of the proportion of the general population) benefit from a college education, arguably their best ladder out of challenging childhoods to worthwhile adult lives.
The University of California, Los Angeles and First Star have created the First Star UCLA Summer Guardian Academy as a first, scalable step to leveling the educational playing field for the Foster Youth of Los Angeles. It is also a major first step toward the goal of establishing the UCLA Bruin Guardian Academy, a year- round, residential prep school at UCLA. As part of the Identity Theft 911 charitable giving program, we have partnered with First Star to deliver high impact education and support to foster youth.
The Summer Program offers a supportive residential education strategically located on the UCLA campus and delivers the best chance towards a fulfilling future. The First Star UCLA Summer Guardian Academy gives foster youth in Los Angeles the opportunity to rewrite shocking statistics of their cohort and become exemplary citizens. We are expanding the program to campuses nationwide in summer 2012, thus creating an entirely new avenue where Foster Youth build happy and productive lives, based upon excellent secondary education.