Steve Basile, right, presents the Kathryn A. Basile Foster a Dream award to Road to Success Program staff Miracle Thomas and Chris Martinez.
Vero Beach – The Kathryn A. Basile Foster a Dream Foundation awarded Devereux Community Based Care $10,000 today, increasing its support of teens and young adults in foster care for the second year in a row.
The award represents a 33 percent increase over last year and a 66 percent increase from the previous year. It will be used to pay for high-school graduation expenses, college campus visits and other costs associated with making the transition into independence.
“Foster a Dream normalizes the foster-care experience and creates incentives for academic achievement,” said Chris Martinez, supervisor for Devereux Community Based Care’s Road to Success program, which prepares young people for life after foster care. “More and more youth are choosing to go to college, and they need Foster a Dream to help pay for expenses – the increased gift will help us stay on top of demand.”
In fact, 38 percent more young people accessed the fund this year than the previous year, Martinez said. And more than 90 percent of those clients accessed it for the first time, demonstrating an increased awareness of the fund. Following is a breakdown of how the fund was used:
- 25 percent accessed the fund for high-school graduation expenses
- 21 percent accessed the fund for college-related expenses
- 30 percent purchased computers
- 13.6 percent accessed the fund to pay for move-in and other apartment-related expenses
Kathryn A. Basile, for whom the foundation is named, believed that any child in foster care could find success with the right support, her brother and Foundation President Steve Basile said.
“She had a very special place in her heart for foster kids, and Foster a Dream provides the means to continue her work in a very meaningful way,” he said.
Since the foundation was created in 2010, Foster a Dream has contributed more than $45,000 and helped more than 70 teenagers and young adults in foster care.
The grant is used for college-bound, high-school seniors to participate in activities like homecoming, prom and Grad Night and to purchase items like class rings, yearbooks, caps and gowns and senior class shirts. The grant also has been used to purchase laptop computers for incoming college freshman and has allowed local youth interested in advocating on behalf of children in foster care to travel to Tallahassee and Washington D.C. to participate in legislative events.
“Aging out of foster care, heading to college – that’s a really stressful time,” said Miracle Thomas, youth worker in the Road to Success Program. “Knowing you have those funds in place to help pay for something like a computer takes a lot of the pressure off.”