Foster Youth Explore College Opportunitiesgtk-promises-to-kids

Last month, 11 college bound high school foster youth departed San Diego for San Francisco to tour some of Northern California’s most distinguished universities. Southwest Airlines sponsored the air travel for all of the youth and chaperones, making this trip possible for the very first time. Promises2Kids organized the college tour as part of their Junior Guardian Scholars program for foster youth entering their senior year of high school to expand their horizons for college opportunities and help them experience firsthand the differences in campuses and the programs available. Most of the youth are the first in their family to attend college and have never stepped foot on a campus. The program creates an avenue where the students can see the possibilities, the activities, ask questions — and perhaps find that one institution they felt would be a good fit.

Students kicked off their arrival by sightseeing in San Francisco, following with visits to Sacramento State, the University of California Davis, University of California Berkeley, San Francisco State University and Stanford University. Three Guardian Scholars currently attending college also participated by sharing their experiences with the high school students. The trip wrapped up with lunch at the legendary Google Café and tour of Google’s Mountain View headquarters complex, also known as Googleplex.

“I am a big believer in the importance of campus tours, and most foster youth don’t have the resources available to them,” Tonya Torosian, CEO, Promises2Kids tells Giving Back Magazine. “This can be a pivotal moment to serve these students, and go a long way towards putting them on a path to valuable college experiences. Foster youth are at high risk of failing to enter college; our Guardian Scholars program has turned this statistic around with an 85% success rate for our participating students. The transition from foster care can be overwhelming, and the tours are just one more way Promises2Kids is committed to removing the barriers and helping foster youth connect and achieve their educational goals and dreams.”

The students found the tours to be inspiring, eye opening, and some are now broadening their options. As a result of the tour, one student in particular is now seriously considering San Francisco State University as his school of choice because of his positive experience.

“This was my first time flying and we got to visit some awesome schools that I plan on applying to this fall. I didn’t realize how many schools have Guardian Scholar programs. It is cool that there is so much support out there for us,” shared Lizzy, Junior Guardian Scholar.

Promises2Kids Junior Guardian Scholars is an innovative program aimed at helping foster youth in high school learn about future career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields through immersion and mentoring. In collaboration with local companies such as Southwest Airlines, Ashford University, ICW Group and Qualcomm, Junior Guardian Scholars connects the student’s academic studies with an experiential environment that provides the encouragement and resources to help them become more college ready and make successful transitions into college life and professional opportunities. A recent study found that 63% of all jobs by 2018 would require some form of postsecondary education due to the broadening global job market in STEM. Promises2Kids Junior Guardian Scholars program is right at the forefront.

For more information about Promises2Kids and Junior Guardian Scholars visit or call (858) 427-1109.