High School Graduates

Only 58% of teens in foster care will graduate high school by age 19*. Don’t tell that to the six (!) foster teens from Northwest Arkansas who turned their tassels this May. They are beating the odds, one by one, and we couldn’t be more proud.

Of the six who graduated last month, five had the care and compassion of a CASA advocate this past year. As their advocates could tell you, these kids have experienced more in their young lives than most of us will ever understand.

We asked one of our advocates, James Keenan, about his newly graduated CASA kid. He shared, “It’s truly amazing what these young people can achieve when they are motivated and have stable, consistent support.  For example, the young man I work with was able to improve his ACT score by 10 points once he had the systems in place to focus on school. That wasn’t just because of me; he was able to come home to an environment that allowed him to spend his time taking practice tests with encouragement and support from many people advocating for him.  When CASA helps these young people land in a safe, reliable environment, magic happens.”

James couldn’t be prouder. His CASA kid is headed off to community college this year. In fact, four of the five graduates that our CASA advocates served are headed off to community college or a four year university. No matter the route, the road in front of them won’t be easy, and they could all use your thoughts and prayers.

If you would like to join us in the celebration, please email your message to these young people c/o Haley Carson, our Older Youth Specialist. She will forward your messages of congratulations and encouragement to these phenomenal young people.

A special thanks to the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, Taco Bell Foundation, Fayetteville Junior Civic League, and Cox Charities for supporting our Older Youth advocates and program.

*Courtney, M.E., and Dworsky, A. (2005). Midwest evaluation of the adult functioning of former foster youth: Outcomes at age 19. Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall Center for Children.