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The Support That Lead Ashley to Her College Acceptance Letter

Ashley's interest and achievement in school improved significantly with the support of teachers, foster parents and academic programs for foster youth.
Support Provided By

As a child, schoolwork was not Ashley's top priority. She was more concerned about keeping her siblings fed and safe. Her perception of education changed in her teens when her foster mother enrolled her in the Bruin Guardian Scholars Academy. Now, at 19, she is a college sophomore.

Ashley: Unlocking the Road to Education

Ashley shares more of her story in the animated video "Ashley: Unlocking the Road to Education."

Ashley entered the foster care system at age 7 and is still in it as part of the extended foster care program. She says that this extra period of support has helped her concentrate on her studies. She's currently majoring in health studies and is considering a minor in either psychology or business.

"I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of different people in different parts of the medical field, and to see and hear their journey," says Ashley, who considers this one of her motivations for her area of study.

Ashley's academic career benefited in part from her participation in the Bruin Guardian Scholars Academy, where, as a high school student, she was able to spend a month living on UCLA's campus while taking courses. She says that programs like this help teach youth how to navigate their way through college.

To Foster Change: Ashley's perception of education changed in high school
Ashley attributes her academic improvement to the support of teachers, foster parents and programs for foster youth. | Still from "

"I know a lot of friends who are in the system and they're struggling in college," she says. "But for me, I never had that experience because I was fortunate enough to be in programs like these."

Ashley is interested in pursuing nursing and giving back to the community that has helped her thrive.

"I would like to try to recruit more people for the programs that I was involved in," she says. "I would also like to become a counselor for a lot of the programs that I was involved in."

Education Resources

Bruin Guardian Scholar Academy: Bruin Guardian Scholar Academy supports foster youth in their educational pursuits through a multi-pronged approach. The program offers mentorship, online high school classes and a four-week residential summer session, as well as access to resources on UCLA's campus.

iFoster: A nationwide organization, iFoster offers resources and support in education and employment opportunities for young people in the foster care system. Through iFoster, youth may also acquire necessities, like glasses and computers, that might otherwise be inaccessible.

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The sun peeks through clouds to shine on a lush, green tree.

Former Foster Youth Share Their 2020 Experience in Pictures

To get a glimpse of what 2020 looked like for former foster youth, we asked them to share their year in pictures. Our virtual gallery showcases some of our favorites.
To Foster Change - Dominique at work

Turning Art Into a Career: Pursuing Photography with Dominique

Dominique has been able to turn photography into a business. His advice to young people interested in working behind the camera is to believe in themselves.
To Foster Change - Mei-Le at work

Turning Art Into a Career: Behind the Scenes with Mei-Le

Mei-Le advises youth pursuing careers in film and television to get to know the people around them and to stay open-minded.