While there are many children that are born to families that are in a position to take care of them and provide them with the resources and tools they need to succeed not all children are so fortunate. Some children are born into situations where their parents and families are unable to give them the care they need and as a result eventually become part of the foster care system where they can find themselves in a constant state of flux, instability and vulnerability. According to the United States Department of Education there are nearly half a million children in the United States that are in the foster care system. These children often do not receive the sort of support and guidance that they need to succeed in elementary, middle and secondary school. Perhaps most importantly many foster children do not get the level of preparation they need to be prepared to pursue college or other post-secondary educational opportunities.
There are many barriers that stand in between young people who are in the foster care system and access to a four-year university or a community college. Statistically youth in foster care are less likely to attend college and more likely to not complete school or obtain a Bachelor’s degree. The Department of Education notes that the kind of approach that is needed to promote more educational attainment and academic success among children who have been in foster care is “coordinated effort” between the institutions that interface with these youths such as schools and institutions that focus on child welfare. Non-profit New Yorkers for Children seeks to be part of the equation that helps foster children succeed by partnering with the child welfare agency New York City Administration for Children’s Services to create and sustain programs that target foster children’s specific needs.
New Yorkers for Children offers programs like the Charles Evans Emergency Educational Fund program and the Back to School Package program. The Charles Evans Emergency Educational Fund was set up to help kids that were part of the foster care system be able to afford the educations that they are seeking. The Back to School program provides foster care kids with the tools they need to succeed in a post-secondary educational environment like a laptop, a MetroCard to afford travel from home to school and an Amazon gift card to help cover the cost of textbooks.
One of the ways that New Yorkers for Children funds these programs is through its annual gala. The 2016 New Yorkers For Children Gala raised over $1 million that will go towards programs like the Back To School Package and the Charles Evans Emergency Educational Fund. The Gala was held at Cipriani 42nd Street and was co-chaired by celebrity hairstylist Frédéric Fekkai, Shirin von Wolfen and many others. The high-profile event drew attendees like Trey Songz, Alexia and David Leuschen, Kelly Rutherford, Rose Gilroy, Daphne Groeneveld and Danielle Snyder.