According to WLWT, Hamilton County in Ohio has nearly 1,800 kids living in foster homes, and more than 13 percent of them are 13 years old or older.
Unfortunately, these foster youth are more likely than others kids who are outside of the foster system to experience many different barriers that prevent academic achievement and cause low graduation rates.
“Celebration of Dreams” is a program in Cincinnati that show foster youth that they can overcome their obstacles.
Throughout the year, the organization makes sure to encourage the kids to work hard, and is constantly acknowledging their hard work and accomplishments.
This year, they are honoring more than 50 young men and women in foster care who overcame the odds and successfully graduated from high school.
“These kids have gone through a lot and they have some special things that they have overcome going through our system and working with families and foster families,” Michael Patton, director of Hamilton County Job and Family Services, told WLWT. “Their challenges are unique, and their accomplishments are unique as well so we want to make sure we acknowledge those accomplishments and honor them in a way that they deserve.”
At last year’s event, the organization’s director, Moira Weir, presented each graduate with their diploma on stage. They also had a guest speaker, Jimmy Wayne, who was formerly in foster care and now a foster-care advocate, spoke with the students about his own struggles as a child.
Learn more about the organization and how they continue to help foster youth feel encouraged and loved in the video below: