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The 5:30 A.M. Wake Up Call

       By Laura Phelps, Pivotal High School Coach  


As a high schooler, getting to school by 8 a.m. is typically a bit of a challenge. You can imagine how surprised I was when one of the students I coach told me she was hoping to join the Link Crew, which meant she’d have to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to get to school by 7:00 a.m. While I’m always supportive of extracurricular activities, I knew she was already facing a demanding academic year. I was...

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Pivotal Success Skills - Helping Scholars Reflect on Who They Are & Who They Want to Be

What skills do foster youth need to be successful? That’s what a team of experts at Pivotal set out to determine when they created our new Success Skills tool. The tool helps students discover important traits and behaviors about themselves while bringing to light what areas they need to work on to become successful and thrive. The group landed on five key skills: Self-awarenessCommunication & Self Advocacy...

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Saying Farewell and Thank You to Board Member, Dr. David Lopez

After 14 years serving on the Pivotal board, Dr. David Lopez is stepping down from the position. We caught up with him to reflect on his many years of service and what he’s most proud of.

What drew you to become a Pivotal board member? Why is the Pivotal mission important to you?

I’ve always been dedicated to the education and support of students who are marginalized and who struggle with challenges because of the inequities in our system. I realized that in many cases, foster...

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Pivotal Scholar Jaskirat Finds her Own Path

By Maria Walters, Sr. Manager of Grants and Communications

Pivotal scholar Jaskirat always imagined going to a 4-year university and becoming a pediatrician. She wanted to help people and give back to her community. When she was accepted to U.C. Davis and received the Pivotal Scholarship it was literally a dream come true. Jaskirat had a vision of what college would be – living in the dorms, meeting new people, and immersing herself in the college experience.

But when she arrived at...

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Stepping Up to a New School Year - A Message from Pivotal CEO, Elise Cutini

As a new school year starts, I find myself not only reflecting on the past year but wondering just what this new year will bring. I’m so incredibly proud of everything we accomplished last year during a pandemic. For over 30 years, our organization has focused on the importance of one-on-one, face-to-face interactions with our students and so many of our coaching and enrichment programs are built on the idea that we should meet students where they are and be integrated into the...

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Internship Collage 2021

Summer 2021 - Interns with Impact

Our goal at Pivotal is to help our students thrive – in life, school and work. We want to give them all the tools they need to become self-sufficient and that includes helping them find the career of their dreams. Pivotal’s Summer Internship Program is one way we help them along their path to success. Interns get real-world experience in the career they’re interested...

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Celebrating Pivotal's 2021 Graduates

It’s graduation season at Pivotal! This year is especially meaningful since the 2020-2021 school year was full of unexpected challenges for our students and the Pivotal coaches who supported them. From navigating remote learning to limited internship and job opportunities, our scholars overcame hurdle after hurdle and our coaches worked tirelessly to provide our services virtually and provide them with as much support as possible. We’re constantly inspired by our scholars and are...

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Announcing Pivotal's Professional Badging Program!

Growing into adulthood and navigating through new financial and career challenges is stressful! We’ve all struggled at some point to file taxes or address workplace conflict. Heck, it’s not easy! And because we are aware of the extra challenges current and former foster youth face, here at Pivotal we’re always thinking of new ways to help our scholars set the foundation for long-term success. 

Ensuring students have access to social capital, networks, and career...

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How the Shadow's Edge Game Helped Young People in Foster Care Discover Their Inner Strength

We are so excited to share this guest blog from Megan Eaton, who is Manager of Enrichment Services over at Pivotal - an amazing nonprofit that helps those in the foster youth community by providing education and employment support so they can graduate high school and college and achieve their dreams for success. With over 400,000 kids in foster care, and with those kids not always getting the support they need to succeed, this organization is absolutely pivotal and deserves the highest of...

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Designing my Own Path

By Sarai Mateo, Pivotal Scholar and Summer 2020 Intern

About three years ago, I was introduced to Pivotal while studying at Gavilan College in Gilroy. Right now, I am majoring in Digital Media and planning to transfer to San Jose State University next fall. My goal after graduating is to work in digital design for a Bay Area company or as an animator for a company like Pixar. I was counting on a 2020 summer internship to build my graphic design work experience, and Covid-19 almost changed...

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Our Newest Coach Addition!

By Christine Salinas, Managers of Grants and Communications

We love boasting about our fantastic staff members, and we’re thrilled to introduce Katrina Largusa, MSW, as a new member of our coaching team! Coach Katrina served as a Pivotal intern coach during the 2018-2019 academic year and joined us in 2020 as our San Mateo County High School Coach.

Katrina’s personal experience as a sibling to two youth adopted through Alameda County foster care inspired her to pursue a social...

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Exported Ngonzo

Brothers in Arms

Like so many college students, brothers John and Nemi Ngonzo were concerned that the Covid-19 pandemic would affect their ability to secure a summer internship in Summer 2020. As it turned out, three Pivotal internship partners stepped up to provide John and Nemi with three incredible virtual internship experiences! 

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