Jeromy Wilkins was able to take part in the same activities as his classmates during his senior year thanks to United for Families and the Kathryn A. Basile Foster a Dream Foundation.

PORT ST. LUCIE — As the end of his senior year at Treasure Coast High School approached, Jeromy Wilkins dreamed of being able to attend the senior prom with his classmates.  While it is a special celebratory event in the life of young men and women graduating from high school, it is also a major expense.  Unlike most of his classmates, the challenge of paying for his prom was even greater because Jeromy was part of the foster care system.

Fortunately for Jeromy, and other high school seniors who have lived or are living in foster care in St. Lucie County, grant funding provided to United for Families, a non-profit organization which provides services and support for children and families, helps to ensure their dreams of attending senior prom come true.

Wilkins clearly remembers how much he enjoyed taking part in the same activities as his classmates during his senior year.  “I was able to rent a tuxedo, buy my cap and gown for graduation, and get a class ring. I never felt left out and could share in all the fun with my classmates.  I could never have afforded to do that without the financial assistance I received from United for Families,” said Wilkins.

The Kathryn A. Basile Foster a Dream Foundation, named after its founder Kathryn A. Basile, who passed away in 2009, was created to ensure that foster children throughout St. Lucie County are afforded the same opportunities as other students, Basile was a former educator and executive director of the Children’s Services Council of St. Lucie County.

Since its inception, the Foundation has provided United for Families with grant funding to cover the cost of senior year and graduation-related activities specifically for students in foster care.

From college application fees, class trips, senior prom and apparel, senior year can be quite costly. The average cost to cover senior year activities is about $2,000 per student.  For many foster students, these activities are prohibitively expensive.

“Senior year of high school is an exciting time filled with wonderful milestones. All students want an opportunity to participate in these ‘rights of passage’ but for some, especially those in the foster care system, these activities may seem out of reach,” explained United for Families Community Relations Director, Christina Kaiser.  “We are so grateful for the continuous funding we receive from the Kathryn A. Basile Foster a Dream Foundation so that we can play a part in allowing these students to enjoy these events with their peers and create positive memories to last a lifetime.”