This post was originally written by Digital Content Intern Patrick LaPorte. LaPorte is a senior media communications major at the University of Delaware, working as a news and sports reporter for The Review and sports director for 91.3 WVUD at UD.
A total of ten teens across the state of Delaware in foster care were able to celebrate their high school graduation this spring through the Kind for Kids Foundation’s UGrad Academy. Kind to Kids and its UGrad Academy program assists a total of 60 children across the state of Delaware in foster care by providing support to meet their educational needs and help them “transition into young adulthood,” according to Kind to Kids’ founder Caroline Jones.
“It’s hard for a teen in foster care to cope with the trauma and neglect they have had to endure, adjust to life in a foster care setting, and complete all of the requirements necessary for school,” Jones said. “UGrad Academy provides stability in an uncertain world.” The program pairs every child with an advocate who serves in assisting and mentoring the child. In the past three years, 97% of children working with UGrad Academy graduated high school. All of the children enrolled in the program this year graduated with a total of six planning to enroll in college.
UGrad Manager Patrick Adzadu described how some of the children in the program switch between foster homes multiple times and in turn fall behind in the classroom. Adzadu believes UGrad allows for its youth to get the support they need related to education. “They need consistent guidance from adults they can rely on,” Adzadu said. “We give them the support and resources they need to make their dreams a reality.”
Jewel, a 2021 graduate of Caesar Rodney High School, is set to attend Albright College this upcoming fall. She plans to become a social worker and found the UGrad Academy Program helped her with both academic needs and other needs beyond the classroom. “I’m proud of my accomplishments. My UGrad advocate helped me to finish with tutoring and study skills,” Jewel said.
Class of 2021 graduate Nasir from Mount Pleasant High School plans to enter the Delaware National Guard with his high school degree secured. “It was very hard to get through high school with everything going on,” Nasir said. “UGrad (Academy) really pushed me and told me that I could do it.”
Kind to Kids is looking to expand this upcoming year by raising funds and hopes to add an additional 40 children to the program to serve 20% of Delaware’s foster children population. The organization is set to hold its “Cheers for a Cause” barbeque at Dupont Country Club on Sept. 17.