Like many foster children, Gwen (not her real name) experienced multiple traumas during her young life. But she is now living with a caring foster family and celebrating a four-year college scholarship.
Gwen has been with her foster family for three years and the support and commitment of her foster parents Karen and Ralph (not their real names) to her (and two of her four siblings also living with her) is evident in conversations with them.
Karen and Ralph’s home provides a loving environment in which Gwen has grown and excelled. Gwen gets straight-A’s and the high-school freshman’s commitment paid off recently when she applied for and was awarded a full four-year college scholarship for tuition from the Give Something Back Foundation, which can be used at the University of St. Francis, Lewis University or Blackburn College. (Room and board will also be covered if Gwen decides to attend Blackburn College because of the distance involved.) Gwen is still researching the schools and hasn’t decided which one she’ll attend. Hundreds of students applied and Gwen was one of only 60 students who received a scholarship. As part of her scholarship, Gwen will also be mentored through the program for the remainder of her high-school years.
Karen and Ralph are proud of Gwen and what she’s accomplished. According to Karen, in addition to her good grades and financial need, the foundation took into account Gwen’s character and three letters of recommendation (non-family) when awarding her a scholarship. According to Karen, Gwen also is very involved in extracurricular activities, including volunteer work at a church (where Karen works), serving on student council in grade school and participating in her high school’s pom-pom squad.
A supportive foster home has made a difference in Gwen’s life. That’s reflected in her comments when asked what advice she would have for other students. She said, “Even though things can get in the way, just think about your future. I want to have a good future. I just work really hard, knowing in the end it will be all good. It doesn’t matter where you came from, just try your hardest. Take every opportunity you can.”