FAU’s Educate Tomorrow helps former foster care, homeless students

The program seeks to increase the graduation rate of homeless students and students exiting the foster care system.


Photo by Mohammed F Emran

Nicole Pujazon, Contributing Writer

For children living in the foster care system, life gets tougher as they grow up. Though foster care is intended to be temporary, many young adults leave the system at the age of 18ー parentless and uncertain about their future.

FAU wants to help these young adults have an option after foster care. A new program called Educate Tomorrow, started by the Miami non-profit by the same name, launched in August and will guide foster and homeless youths through college life.

Educate Tomorrow does this by pairing students with individual academic advisors, who mentor them on a bi-weekly basis. The program currently has 24 foster or formerly homeless students attending FAU.

According to Jasmine Briggs, director of Educate Tomorrow, there are 104 students who are eligible to apply for the program.

“We work with students also looking for options for housing, and help students in similar situations” Briggs said. “We not only want them to be engaged in the community not only with students in similar situations but beyond to help them build relationships for future career opportunities.”

According to the FAU website, Educate Tomorrow was designed to support FAU students receiving the Department of Children and Families (DCF) or homeless (HL) waivers or students who were previously in foster care before attending college. Even if students don’t qualify for these waivers, Educate Tomorrow can help.

“Sometimes the student is not eligible to get these waivers but if we see a student struggling they can come to us and we can still help them out,” Briggs stated.  

Educate Tomorrow is also open for new mentors who may want to join and help students in the program navigate through college successfully. Ultimately, the program hopes to increase the graduation rate of homeless and foster students.

According to the Child Welfare League of America, more than half a million youth are in foster care in the United States today. One of the biggest obstacles teenagers face when they leave the system is having a plan for the future.

Shultz Pierre Louis, an FAU student in the program, said in an interview with WPTV that he wants to “go beyond a statistic.” The 18-year-old freshman is majoring in political science and hopes to make his way to Washington DC one day.

To learn more about becoming a mentor or joining the program, visit the Educate Tomorrow website.

Nicole Pujazon is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet her @NicolePujazon.