Grounded for Life Program drives innovation in education
By Kim Rodriquez
PEMBROKE PINES, FL – Jeremiah, age 16, came into foster care with his two brothers due to parental neglect. He and his siblings have called Children’s Harbor, a family style group home facility, ‘home’ for the past three years. Jeremiah is very shy and struggled fitting in at high school. Feeling like an outsider, Jeremiah’s academic performance suffered and he lacked the motivation to improve his grades.
Over 60% of youth will exit the foster care system without a high school diploma. Knowing that success in school can act as a positive counterbalance to a childhood filled with abuse and neglect; Children’s Harbor teamed up with ChildNet, the lead child welfare agency for Broward & Palm Beach counties, to develop the Grounded for Life Program.
Grounded for Life, funded by the AT&T Aspire grant, provides youth like Jeremiah a Graduation Coach who will meet with them individually once a week to help improve their basic skills, provide support and tutoring, encourage school participation, set personal educational goals, develop problem solving skills, and in-spire them to become lifelong learners.
With a little motivation and consistent academic monitoring, Jeremiah went from C’s and D’s to finishing his last quarter with five A’s. Jeremiah also got a part-time job at McDonald’s and he is extremely proud of himself.
While Jeremiah is still uncertain of his career goals, he knows that with the support from the Grounded for Life program, he will be successful in whatever area he pursues. “Jeremiah is smiling more than ever and is very enthusiastic about the upcoming school year,” shared Collene Brown, Children’s Harbor Program Supervisor.
“We are so excited to see the difference that this collaborative program is making for our youth. With the support of caring companies, like AT&T, we will see more youth in foster care celebrating their high school graduation!” Dr. Elizabeth Wynter, Children’s Harbor President & CEO.
“The value of this program, and AT&T’s partnership, cannot be overstated. By providing these youth with a solid educational foundation, they will be prepared to take on any challenge they meet and achieve any goal they set.” Emilio Benitez, president and CEO of ChildNet, Inc.