Beating the Odds
At the age of 16, Nicole watched as her two younger brothers were removed from her mother’s house on a cold, winter afternoon. She knew what it felt like to be bounced around and she would have done anything to keep that from happening to them.
As a child, Nicole was removed from her mother’s care and separated from her siblings a number of times. “I remember one time they brought me away. They took me to a foster care family who didn’t speak any English and I didn’t even know what town I was in because we drove forever,” she recalled. “I didn’t want to see my brothers go through that.”
Nicole, who lived with relatives and foster families briefly, eventually landed at a group home for teenage girls run by Communities for People. While being moved around from home-to-home, she continued going to school in her hometown and struggled to get her G.E.D. Growing up in foster care, Nicole watched several of her friends end up pregnant, arrested, on drugs, or involved with prostitution after they aged out of “the system” at 18. Having faced emotional and behavioral issues of her own, she knew she wanted to beat the odds.
|Only about 20% of foster youth enroll in college, but 70% wish they could.|
“Through Communities for People, I got a job at More Than Words which is a bookstore in Waltham. It was there that my supervisor told me about The Home for Little Wanderers’ Academic Support for College and Life Program (ASCL),” Nicole explained. “I always dreamed of going to college to become a teacher or a lawyer, but never had the means or support to do so.”
Nicole, who had just turned 20, was among the first graduating class of the ASCL program. Designed as a rigorously academic post-high school enrichment year, the ASCL program helped to prepare Nicole for adulthood and her first year of college. In addition to providing young women with college preparatory academic instruction, ASCL includes clinical, social, vocational and daily living supports.
“If it hadn’t been for the support and relationships I developed through ASCL and The Home, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’ve beaten the odds,” Nicole said. “I’m the first person in my entire family to go to college and my mother, to whom I’ve always remained close, now sees me as her inspiration.”