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Celebrating 35 Years of Impact: Vanessa's Journey

Vanessa Payne Newsletter Main Banner

Vanessa Payne was in our very first cohort of 11 scholarship recipients, more than 20 years ago. Like so many Pivotal scholars, her path was not always clear. While she was in foster care, she had close to 17 different placements and the constant upheaval meant she struggled to complete high school. When she finally got her GED, she applied for and received a Pivotal scholarship. Although she had hoped to go to college, she wasn’t in a place where she could focus on academics and ended up leaving school. When she became pregnant at 19, she realized that if she was going to give her...

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Making the Most of a Second Chance - Catching Up with Diana

Diana Urias loved school when she was young, but when she was placed in foster care, she felt that love waning as she struggled with her mental health and began engaging in more and more risky behavior. After a drug overdose, several moves, and some time in juvenile detention, Diana realized she had to make a change. She began to focus on school again, eventually graduating and starting at community college where she found Pivotal. “I expected the program to be temporary, like every...

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Catalysts for Change - Thanking our Social Work Interns

March is Social Work Month, and we want to celebrate the current and future social workers who support our students. Social workers play a critical role in the child welfare system and are often an important part of our scholars’ lives.  

In 2010, Pivotal created an internship program to help new social workers-in-training learn about the nuances of working with foster youth. We train undergraduate and graduate students in social work programs to be Pivotal coaches, working...

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The Sisterhood of Resilience: From Separation to Support

Losing their parents to drug and alcohol addiction motivated sisters Mary and Ruby to build healthy and fulfilling lives to help themselves and others.   

For Mary, the path to healing began with strengthening her own body and mind. Her father had been a track and field runner, but she didn’t see him in that light, as a strong athlete, because his addiction had stripped that away. It inspired her to become a runner herself, breaking track and field records in middle...

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Anjru's Story - In His Own Words

I went into foster care partly because of physical and emotional abuse, but mostly, because of poverty. My dad was in and out of jail. My mother was a single mother raising me and my three sisters. We lived in the car, slept on couches, and on people’s floors for a long time, until the day we entered foster care. Whenever something bad happened to my family, my parents would blame me. I felt that I was a burden, and I was always anxious. But I can’t say that I was a victim of my...

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Sobrato Philanthropies Pledges $500,000 in support of Pivotal's programs over the next 2 years

We are honored to be awarded a $500,000, multi-year grant from Sobrato Philanthropies to support our programs. One of Pivotal’s most steadfast supporters, Sobrato has given over $2.5 million in funding since Pivotal’s founding. Sobrato has provided funding for our post-secondary programs, emergency assistance fund, and general operations to help us continue to grow our work. 

“We support Pivotal because they see foster youth as whole humans and create conditions that...

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KLA Foundation Pledges $300,000 over 3 Years to Support Pivotal's High School Coaching Program

We are thrilled to announce that the KLA Foundation has pledged $300,000 over the next three years to fund Pivotal’s High School Coaching program! In California, only 46% of young people in foster care graduate from high school, and nationally, just 4% earn a bachelor’s degree. We work to make an impact on these alarming numbers through our High School Coaching Program, where, on average, 74% of participants earn high school diplomas and 77% go on to post-secondary education. The...

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Welcoming Candice Chung - Chief Financial and Operating Officer

In late April, Pivotal welcomed our new Chief Financial & Operating Officer, Candice Chung. For nearly two decades, Candice has worked in the non-profit sector, committed to improving outcomes through access to education.  

Most recently, Candice served as CFO of AI4ALL, a national nonprofit that is transforming the pipeline of artificial intelligence practitioners and creating a more inclusive, human-centered discipline. During her time at AI4ALL, Candice developed financial...

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Welcoming Pattie Cortese - Board Member

More great news for the Pivotal team! Pattie Cortese is joining our Board of Directors. Pattie has lived in the Bay Area since 1969. She began her career with Catholic Charities in their Vocational Learning and Treatment Center, working with chronically mentally ill adults to gain skills and employment. Pattie has been active in youth mentoring programs since 1994 and is a founding member of the South Bay Mentoring Coalition, a group of nonprofit organizations working together to promote...

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Onward and Upward: For Denisse, Graduation is just the Beginning

Denisse loved school all her life. It was a sanctuary, a place to escape from the violence and anger she often faced at home. She loved school and was always eager to learn.

“School was my home where I had friends, and there weren’t any bad things. But one day, I got home just five mins late and he beat me with a belt and cables. It hurt to walk. I reported him through my school who then reported him to the police.”

Her dad was arrested but was soon out on bail and Denisse...

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An EPEC Conversation with Lupe Diaz

In celebration of National Foster Care Month, join us for a live recording of Delrisha White’s podcast EPEC (Everyday People, Extraordinary Circumstances) Conversations, hosted in partnership with Harmonic.

Delrisha, a dynamic social impact leader and a former foster youth, will be talking to Pivotal board member and alumna, Lupe Diaz about her extraordinary story of resilience.

If you'd like to attend the live taping of the podcast, register below. 

Register for EPEC Live

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