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Never Too Early to Network


Never Too Early to Network

By Melissa Johns, Executive Vice President

It’s not what you know but who you know, right? For youth growing up in foster care, it’s hard to find career mentors and build a professional network. As first-generation college students, they have limited access to professionals who can provide career insights and guidance. To help fill this gap, this summer Pivotal launched a new career development workshop series for its post-secondary scholars. For the capstone project, we matched 31 scholars to community volunteers who were eager to engage in virtual...

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Breaking Down Barriers, One FAFSA at a Time

By Janelle Blakely, Director of Development
If you attended college in the last few decades, you probably have memories of filling out that burly federal financial aid application form called the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Completing the FAFSA is often daunting, requiring the help of a parent and access to your family’s tax returns and other legal documentation. Unsurprisingly, most foster youth struggle with the complicated process. For years, foster...
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The Silver Linings of Distance Learning

Parents everywhere are wondering what school will look like this year and worried about the challenges and pitfalls of distance learning. As Pivotal scholars prepare to start the new school year remotely, we asked how they feel about distance learning. Because of their own unique experiences in the foster system, many prefer it over in-person instruction. Here are five things we learned:  

1. You can live anywhere. 

For many young people from foster care, securing stable housing...

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Words from our Scholars!

We’re so proud of our graduating college seniors! While the pandemic changed many things in the lives of our Pivotal scholars, not even Covid-19 could stop Naeim, Farhad, Latif, and Diana from achieving their goals. Below we offer some Q&A with these four stellar scholars.


How does it feel to earn your bachelor’s degree? 

Latif: As a first-generation college student, earning a bachelor’s degree feels like a tremendous accomplishment for myself and my family....

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Pivotal Perspectives - Social Justice Dialogue

Pivotal is responding to the murder of George Floyd and the protests that are happening around the country and here at home, with conversations about Black Lives Matters and racial justice. This month, we invite all Pivotal high school, college, and alumni scholars to Pivotal Perspectives Social Justice Dialogue. It will be a safe space for scholars to discuss their thoughts and concerns about race relations, talk about ways to cope in difficult times, and think about how to be active change...

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Black Lives Matter: A Letter from Pivotal's CEO and Board President

Last week, we watched in horror, the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, which was just the latest in a string of deaths that included the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. As our outrage over these events continues and we sit with heavy hearts, we are taking a moment to speak out because silence is no longer an option.

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My Year as a Pivotal Intern Coach

Students in Pivotal’s Intern Coach Program are working towards a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work. Our program gives them an opportunity to complete their required professional hours under the supervision of our team of experts, all of whom have Master’s degrees in Social Work. Intern Coaches work exclusively with high school students for one year and manage a caseload of roughly six students per coach. They deliver social-emotional learning, teach success...

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Meet Monserrat

By Janelle Blakely, Director of Development

Incredible is how I describe Pivotal scholar, Monserrat. Inspired is how I felt after I sat down and talked with her.

Monserrat is very educational-oriented, a lover of learning and school. A first-generation college student, she will make her dreams a reality when she attends UC Santa Barbara this fall!

Her love of learning was passed down from her mom who always placed great value on education. Although Monserrat’s mom encouraged her kids to...

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Be Pivotal: Two Ways to Help us Save Summer 2020

By Melissa Johns, Executive Vice President

As we head full steam into June, Pivotal is on a mission to Save Summer 2020! Normally you’d find us spending the last days in May helping high school and collegiate scholars finalize the details of their summer internships, while calming their nerves as they prepare for their first professional jobs. But 2020 is no typical year.

Coronavirus has upended the tradition of summer internships, and young people across the country are feeling the...

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Triad of Support Offers Free Meals to Pivotal Foster Youth During National Foster Care Month

Our friends at the Junior League of San Jose have been ardent supporters of both transition-age foster youth and women entrepreneurs for years. When they read our newsletters about Pivotal scholars' Covid-19 emergency needs, they came up with a plan to blend support for both populations.

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Pivotal Provides Laptops to College Foster Youth During Covid-19

Nicole is a former foster youth who attends San Jose City College and has big dreams for herself. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, she completed her course assignments in the computer lab at her apartment complex. But when shelter-in-place forced her complex to shut down the lab, Nicole ran into a significant problem: How would she do her work without access to a computer? Pivotal stepped in to help. 

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Adobe has been a Pivotal partner since 2018.

Silicon Valley Corporations and Foundations Step It Up During the COVID Crisis

We applaud the Silicon Valley corporations and foundations that are supporting nonprofits like Pivotal during COVID-19. Many wonderful partners such as Acer America, Comerica Bank, Pinpoint Foundation, Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Sobrato Family Foundation, and Tipping Point Community have generously donated to Pivotal’s Emergency Assistance Fund.

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