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YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING FOR IT.

We've helped hundreds of young people discover their talents, explore career possibilites, and move forward. Each one has a different story of how they came to be in foster care. But, they all want the same thing for themselves: a future they are excited about. 

 

Story-Denisse

DENISSE’S
STORY

A career in medicine.

For as long as she can remember, Denisse has wanted to be a pediatrician. And as a biology major at San Francisco State, she’s well on her way.

Life hasn’t always been easy for Denisse. She endured many years of abuse before entering the foster care system. She kept her dreams alive, even though life constantly whittled away at them.

Things began to change in high school. A friend suggested she tag along to a Pivotal STEM workshop. Denisse didn’t know what to expect, but the self-described science buff dived right in. She learned coding, robotics, and website design, as well as professional development skills like how to write a strong resume and interview for a job. When she completed the STEM workshops, she received her very own laptop which came fully loaded with Microsoft Word, Powerpoint and Excel.

Denisse started working with a Pivotal coach who helped her get a summer internship at Kaiser. That's when she got glimpse of her future.

Denisse is on her way to creating the life she wants for herself. Her first day of college was surreal. “I was so happy, I cried tears of joy,” she says. “I don’t know what I would have done without all the support from Pivotal. Sometimes you just need to think big!” 

I always wanted to be a doctor, and after my internship, I'm sure it's what I want to do!

Story-Latif

Pivotal gave me the extra support that I needed to keep me going.

LATIF’S
STORY

A career in law.

With an associate's degree hanging on his wall and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Long Beach in the works, Latif is aiming for the real prize: a law degree.  Latif already knows a lot about law for a college student But, his introduction didn’t happen in the classroom. It happened in a more personal way.

Not long ago, planning for his future felt impossible. Family conflict forced Latif to flee his native country, Ghana, at age 16. Alone and unprepared, he spent days in a California detention center. When relatives in New York refused to take him in, he entered foster care. Of his first two placements, Latif says simply, “They weren’t a match.”

In the beginning, he was behind in school and struggling to get by. Being far from home and getting used to a new culture made him feel isolated and confused. But he was determined, and with hard work, graduated from high school.

The real turning point came at De Anza College. Paired with a Pivotal coach, Latif finally found his stride. Together, they developed Latif’s educational plan, and met regularly for step-by-step guidance that helped him earn his two-year degree.

“Pivotal gave me the extra support that really kept me going,” he says.  “I can’t even imagine graduating without that.”

Now he's working on a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice, and he's not looking back.  “The sky’s the limit,” he says confidently. “I wanted a better future for myself. And, I did it!”

Latif's coach, Nathan, says: 

When I met Latif, it was clear he already had a plan. I helped him connect to resources. We spent a lot of time going through websites and learning together. He was so focused on his future, he made my job easy!

Story-Sarata

SARATA’S
STORY

A career in public policy.

Sarata plans to earn a master’s degree in Public Administration. For now, she's applying to the Peace Corps or thinking of working at a nonprofit that brings clean water to developing countries. 

She took advantage of our summer internship program which matched her to a fabulous role at Santa Clara County Water District. A highlight was taking on the role of director of high school interns. She also planned office events and even sat in on board meetings. “I learned how to communicate and network with professionals and I learned new skills," beams Sarata.  

Pivotal made sure that the internship was successful for everyone involved. For Sarata, that meant providing her with proper business attire and coaching her on professional work habits. And, for her internship supervisors, Pivotal checked in regularly and coached them on the best ways to support foster youth interns. 

Sarata is ready for her next chapter. “Having Pivotal help youth find internships like mine really paved the way for an opportunity for me,” she says. “There’s so much out there! In an internship like this, being able to evolve and learn was a life-changing experience.”

I had the extra support that really kept me going. I can’t even imagine graduating without that.

Story-Alicia

Pivotal's scholarship let me stay focused on my education.

ALICIA’S
STORY

A career in community advocacy.

Alicia always loved school. As a child, it was her happy place when the rest of her world seemed torn apart. Now, with her first diploma in hand – a B.A. in Sociology from San Francisco State University – she’s busy making plans to earn a second one – a master’s degree in social work.

From an early age, Alicia planned to go to college. But, figuring out how to pay for it was another matter.  Alicia got help applying for federal financial aid, and received a Pivotal scholarship that helped cover her living expenses, like housing, food and transportation. Alicia recalls, “Pivotal's scholarship let me stay focused on my education. Honestly, that was such a luxury!”

Alicia knows life’s challenges. Cycling through 13 foster homes in one year took a toll. “I was a traumatized little girl,” she recalls. But with the right supports in place, she bravely picked up the pieces. 

Now, armed with a college degree and unburdened with college debt, she looks ahead with confidence. She feels empowered to reach toward the future she envisions for herself. “It’s about knowing yourself,” she beams. “I’ve always wanted to be a social worker and  work with kids. I want to let them know that I’ll be there for them!”

Alicia's coach, Arielle, says:

Alicia is a great combination of wisdom and motivation. We connected instantly and quickly got down to work. She knew she wanted to go into social work and was really interested in what I do as a Pivotal coach. Alicia had a chance to shadow me as part of a school assignment. I thought I’d be doing all the teaching, but to be honest, I learned a lot from her too! 

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