Campaign encompasses growth across counties, younger ages, and advocacy efforts
SAN JOSE, Calif., - September 13, 2022 – Pivotal, the only nonprofit in Silicon Valley focused exclusively on meeting the educational and career needs of foster youth, today announced an expansion of services to reach a broader age range and wider geography. The Pivotal on the Move initiative encompasses three focus areas to expand impact. The agency, which has over 30 years of experience supporting young people in and from foster care, will (1) continue to serve students even if they move out of county; (2) expand services into middle school; and (3) deepen their advocacy and advance legislation focused on removing the barriers that create inequity.
In the past, Pivotal supported the academic and educational success of foster youth in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. However, foster youth move an average of eight times while in care. By moving with students, the organization can provide more consistency and stability and keep them on track to succeed. Pivotal is already serving post-secondary students in 24 counties in California and 13 states nationwide, providing scholarships, tutoring, professional development workshops, internships, and one-on-one coaching.
“Pivotal has always focused on population rather than location - we want to meet our young people where they are," says Marie-Christine Busque, Pivotal’s Vice President of Programming. “In the last three years, we've seen that 72% of our scholars left the county. Our students need consistency to thrive so if they’re on the move, we're on the move."
The second component of “Pivotal on the Move” encompasses an expansion of services to students in middle school. In the past, Pivotal started working with foster youth in the 9th grade but in many cases, these students were already too far behind to achieve an on-time graduation. The impact of foster care is multifold, and the challenges accumulate for these students. By starting earlier, Pivotal hopes to increase their potential to graduate high school in four years. On average, 74% of Pivotal high school scholars graduate, compared to the national average of only 50% of foster youth.
In addition to this geographic and age expansion, Pivotal is also committing more resources to legislative and advocacy work. “Now, more than ever, foster youth need a voice in the government and on legislative decisions that have a direct impact on their lives,” says Elise Cutini, Pivotal’s CEO. “We have decades of experience listening to our young people and what they are telling us now is that they need uninterrupted support and services wherever they live. We don’t abandon our youth when they ‘age-out’ and won’t abandon them when they ‘move-out’. One of the many challenges we’re thinking about is how to re-imagine support and funding so services can follow our youth regardless of county and state lines.”
Pivotal has been supporting high school and college-aged students in and from foster care for over 30 years, offering comprehensive services including one-on-one academic and employment coaching, college scholarships, tutoring, career readiness training, and paid summer internships. Pivotal helps young people from foster care get the support they need to earn a sustainable income and reach self-sufficiency. Pivotal scholars are 25 percent more likely to graduate high school and 10 times more likely to graduate college than their foster youth peers. To learn more about Pivotal, visit https://www.pivotalnow.org/ and follow on Facebook @PivotalNow or Twitter @ThisIsPivotal.