First Star partners with universities and child welfare agencies throughout the country to make a long-term investment in foster youth and change the course of their lives, from abuse and neglect to academic achievement and self-sufficiency. The Academies are the country’s only long-term college readiness programs for high school foster youth that include both four immersive residential summers on a university campus, and monthly sessions during each school year. During the residential sessions, the youth are not only supported by highly qualified professionals, but also by peer mentors who are former foster youth attending the host university. Throughout all four years, Academy staff provides holistic, long-term education case management to the youth and their families to sustain the progress youth make during the university-immersion sessions.
The First Star Academies currently serve approximately 350 youth across twelve campuses: Arizona State University, Cal State San Bernardino, CUNY Staten Island, Illinois State University, Loyola University of Chicago, Rowan University (New Jersey), Rutgers University – Camden, UCLA, University of Connecticut, University of Miami, University of Central Florida, and University of Utah. The First Star Academies have significantly improved the outcomes of participating youth across the country. 98% of First Star Academy foster youth who have completed four years of programming have graduated high school, and 91% have enrolled in higher education, including a significant proportion to four-year universities.
For more information on existing foster youth programs or on how to set up a new First Star academy, contact Lyndsey Collins, National Director of Academy Operations at Lyndsey.Collins@firststar.org
University of Central Florida