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Stormin' through Summer

Storm and Matthew Internship

by Storm McNerney

During the last semester of my undergraduate studies at San Jose State University, it seemed as if I was the only person without an internship. I knew the importance of finding one. After all, many of my peers had already interned at places such as LinkedIn, Google, and Apple. But those internships always felt out of my reach.

Luckily, I heard about Pivotal’s paid summer internship program through SJSU. After having received professional development training, I connected with their team.  They presented me with two internship interviews they thought would be a good fit for my upcoming degree in communications and my passion for advocacy work.

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Young Teenagers

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

On any given day, there are roughly 430,000 children in the American foster care system. Here are the top 5 things to know about children who enter foster care.

1. Children enter foster care through no fault of their own.

They’ve been removed from their family homes because an investigation has confirmed there is abuse and/or neglect in their home and that, for the time being, they will be safer elsewhere.

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Masters of Change Amador

Foster Youth Recognize the Change-Makers in Their Lives

Emmanuel “Manny” Amador is a Pivotal Board Member and former foster youth who spearheads the selection process for our highly anticipated 2019 Masters of Change Awards. We caught up with Manny, who shared his thoughts about this awesome award. 

Pivotal: What’s the intention behind the Masters of Change Award?

Manny: I think we all would like to think that whatever success we have is because we did it all on our own. But the truth is that every one of us has had help from someone.  Masters of Change Award was developed by foster youth to recognize the efforts of individual community members who have provided unwavering support to foster kids so they can achieve the life they want and deserve. The award sets the “gold” standard for community support and serves as a beacon for others who want to help but are not sure how.

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Foster Care Awareness ribbons

Volunteers “Jump" to Help Silicon Valley Foster Youth

Ask any nonprofit and they’ll tell you that volunteers are pivotal to carrying out their mission. Stretched thin by budgets and staff members who wear multiple hats, there isn’t a nonprofit out there who can make it without volunteer support. So, when Jump Associates located us with the help of Universal Giving, we knew we hit a home run.

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Mentorship foster youth

Superhero Coaches, You Say? Yeah, We've Got a Few of Those

This month is National Mentoring Month. Here at Pivotal, we'd like to give our coaches a big ol’ SHOUT OUT! Their caring approach and expertise in all things foster care and young people is what makes Pivotal, well, pivotal. 
So, what makes a coach? Are coaches the same as mentors? 
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Net Promoter Score Is a Valuable Tool in Nonprofit Work

Have you ever wondered how successful brands like PayPal, Best Buy, and American Express measure their customers’ loyalty and satisfaction?  

They rely on something called the Net Promoter Score, a powerful metric that helps big brands “listen to their customers” by calculating their willingness to recommend the company’s products or services to others. The NPS is measured by calculating the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters of the product and it provides valuable feedback that’s sometimes used to shift brand strategy. While it’s used primarily in the for-profit world to evaluate customer satisfaction, nonprofits would do well to engage in this type of behavior too.

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student athlete foster youth award Pivotal

Success Comes One Day at a Time for this Silicon Valley Foster Youth and Scholar

A big part of what we do here at Pivotal is to encourage our youth to dream big. That’s why we love sharing stories of our college scholarship recipients like Noor Almusahwi, a former foster youth, and current Pivotal scholar. Noor is well on his way to realizing his career goals. He sets the bar high for all college students, not just those from foster care.   

A quintessential student-athlete, Noor is now a senior with a 3.9 GPA at Arizona State University and wrestler in the school’s Top-10 wrestling program. Before transferring to ASU, he was California’s top-ranked wrestler. Although his days are jam-packed with classes, homework, and perfecting the wrestling skills and technique he began learning in high school, he also finds time to conduct policy research on the rights of refugees.

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Homelessness Is a Barrier to Earning a College Degree

Just three weeks ago, California voters passed two propositions expected to battle homelessness in our community. With tent encampments growing in cities across the area and people lining up as early as 8:00 am for a shelter bed, it’s clear that homelessness has reached a watershed moment in California.

What’s perhaps less obvious is that homelessness is a deepening problem for college students. Once they turn 18, many no longer receive financial support from their parents.  This is particularly true for college- enrolled foster youth who often emancipate at age 18. For them, stretching their dollars means having to choose between paying for classes and books, or housing and food.  

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Welcome to Pivotal – Our New Name for the Next Chapter of Our Organization’s Story

You may know us for our work as Silicon Valley Children’s Fund – or perhaps you knew us as TeenForce – but now, you can just call us Pivotal.

Pivotal is so much more than just a new name and logo. If there's anything we've learned from our 20 years of experience working with foster youth, it's that the nature of what we do - providing academic and employment support to foster youth - is pivotal to their future. And, it's clear that the timing of this support - receiving it before the emancipation clock ticks down - is pivotal to their career success. 


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